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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

Copyright 2015 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

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