Wishing everyone a restful and restorative Thanksgiving break! Here’s a roundup featuring P4AD patient advocates at the virtual CMS Listening Sessions for the Medicare Negotiation Program
- David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs whose drugs carry a combined list price of more than $900,000 per year, kicked off the first day of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) patient focused listening sessions with remarks on taking blockbuster blood thinner Eliquis and the relief to come from its negotiated drug price. “Negotiation on Eliquis is going to help millions of patients like me have both better health and improved financial well-being,” David explained. The following day, longtime P4AD patient advocate Judy Aiken shared her experience from her home in Maine at the Enbrel listening session: “Enbrel’s high cost has been a real burden, a constant anxiety. A lower price for this drug will be life changing for me and thousands of other patients.”
- P4AD patient advocate Bob Parant, who lives with type 1 diabetes and introduced the President in September last year following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, spoke at the listening sessions about his high out-of-pockets costs for Entresto — a heart failure medication that keeps him alive following a recent triple bypass surgery. “I am always on high alert with all of my meds. Many do not realize what additional stress this presents besides living with the disease itself,” remarked Bob at the patient listening session for Entresto. Thankfully, in 2026, he won’t have to worry so much about managing the high costs of his life-saving medication due to Medicare negotiation. Lynn Scarfuto, a P4AD advocate who takes oral chemotherapy drug Imbruvica for her leukemia, celebrated the announcement that her anticancer medication will be eligible for Medicare negotiation in 2026. She shared at the Imbruvica listening session that the monthly list price of her medication is hugely cost prohibitive at $17,000 a month and hopes that “future negotiations will make these meds more affordable” for patients like her on Medicare.
- P4AD patient advocate Steven Hadfield, who lives with a rare blood cancer and type 2 diabetes, and who introduced the President when the first 10 drugs selected for negotiation were announced, shared the relief he felt when his diabetes medication, Januvia, was announced as one of the first drugs that Medicare will negotiate a lower price for in 2026. “I know Medicare negotiation is a blessing not a detriment for patients like me, as a decrease in price would allow working class Americans to feel some well needed financial relief and enjoy access to more affordable medications,” said Steven during the Januvia listening session. At the Stelara listening session, P4AD patient advocate Doug Lusty commented on the financial burden caused by the high cost of Stelara in addition to his other expensive medications that he depends on to treat his Crohn’s disease and diabetes. “I am already on a fixed-income and have been hit financially hard with medical expenses between my wife and I, which means lower drug prices will ultimately let us enjoy some savings and give us more breathing room that we desperately need.”
Despite the presence of pharma talking points saturating the sessions, we want to express our deepest thanks to all P4AD patient advocates, whose stories illuminate the urgency and impact of Medicare negotiations. It’s undeniable that the success of the historic drug price reforms within the Inflation Reduction Act is due to the power and dedication of these patient advocates speaking out in direct opposition to pharma interests.
Have a great holiday!