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March 2015

Retaining Part D’s Comprehensive Coverage of Antidepressants: Not a Silver Bullet

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York
  • 2Department of Health Policy and Management, Graduate School of Public Health, and Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(3):201-202. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.2186

Clinicians prescribing antidepressant medication to elderly and disabled Medicare patients have a wide array of choices because antidepressants are among the 6 protected classes of medications in Medicare Part D. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires Part D plans to cover “all or substantially all” drugs in these classes to ensure vulnerable populations’ access to needed medications and to reduce the ability of Part D plans to restrict coverage of drugs used by beneficiaries with high expected costs. However, this requirement has also reduced Part D plans’ abilities to negotiate lower prices with drug companies marketing those drugs.1

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