Trump ‘Protected Class’ Proposal Would Not Limit Access to HIV Drugs, Azar Says

December 27, 2018

A proposal by the Trump administration to no longer require Medicare Part D plans to cover human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) medications and other “protected class” drugs will not hamper patient access to antiretrovirals, Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, told attendees during a speech at the 2018 National White Conference on HIV Care and Treatment earlier this month.

The proposed change would free insurers to negotiate better with drug makers to lower costs, according to the administration. The bid would also allow plans to institute prior-approval and step-therapy policies to control medication costs.

“We put forth our proposal because we want to expand patient access to antiretrovirals and other expensive drugs, by driving down prices,” Mr Azar said. “If, for instance, prior authorization requirements are getting in the way of take-up or adherence to HIV treatment, that would be of great concern to us.”

Mr. Azar reportedly told the gathering that the setup of the current system fails to adequately protect Americans from high medication costs.

“We believe the strong patient protections in Part D will help everyone get access to the drugs that are right for them at a lower cost,” Mr Azar said during his speech, “but we want your input on how that should work.”

Jolynn Tumolo


Sweeney E. Azar assures HIV patients ‘protected class’ proposal won’t cut off access to drugs. Fierce Healthcare. December 11, 2018.