Washington, D.C., June 12, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In response to the Trump Administration’s American Patients First drug pricing blueprint, the American College of Rheumatology – which represents more than 7,700 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals in the U.S. – today issued a set of policy principles that rheumatology leaders urge federal officials to adopt as they consider drug policy changes affecting the health care of chronically ill Americans.

The policy principles include prioritizing patient access to affordable, safely-administered, high-quality rheumatology treatments, as well as reducing and streamlining “utilization management” practices such as step therapy, prior authorization, non-medical switching, and excessive out-of-pocket costs that too often delay or prevent patients from accessing necessary therapies and contribute to higher treatment costs.

“The ACR supports drug pricing policies that make safe, effective and innovative treatments accessible to our patients at the lowest possible cost. While several proposals in the American Patients First drug pricing blueprint would bring our health care system closer to that goal, others would make it even more difficult for our patients to access the breakthrough treatments and therapies needed to prevent permanent joint damage, organ damage, and early death,” said David Daikh, MD, PhD, President of the American College of Rheumatology.

As the federal government considers sweeping changes to America’s drug pricing and delivery system, rheumatology leaders urge regulatory officials to consider the unique care needs of Americans living with chronic illnesses, including the 54 million who live with rheumatic diseases.

“In the coming weeks, the ACR will submit detailed comments to HHS sharing our feedback and concerns. In the meantime, America’s rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals have put forth a set of principles that should guide any drug policy reforms affecting chronically ill Americans, including the one in four who live with rheumatic diseases. These principles are foundational to our ability to care for our patients and help them maintain the quality of life they need and deserve. We look forward to engaging with the Administration and relevant agencies as they develop further guidance and rules,” concluded Daikh.

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About the American College of Rheumatology

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is the nation’s leading advocacy organization for the rheumatology care community, representing more than 7,700 U.S. rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals. As an ethically driven, professional membership organization committed to improving health care for Americans living with rheumatic diseases, the ACR advocates for high-quality, high-value policies and reforms that will ensure safe, effective, affordable and accessible rheumatology care.

Jocelyn Givens American College of Rheumatology 404-633-3777 ext. 810 jgivens@rheumatology.org