government

Off-label prescription drug bill introduced

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 26, 2010

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Reps. Mary Jo Kilroy (D, Ohio) and Mac Thornberry (R, Texas) announced July 15 a bipartisan bill that would expand Medicare coverage of medications for off-label use when supported by peer-reviewed medical literature.

Many Medicare enrollees with serious and sometimes life-threatening conditions are unable to access the medications they need under Medicare Part D because their intended uses are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the lawmakers said. Only certain Medicare Part B and Part D medications used to treat cancer, but not other medical conditions, are eligible for off-label coverage.

Off-label prescribing is common in the medical community and an essential means of providing patients with needed medical care, Kilroy and Thornberry said. The bill has the support of the Medicare Rights Center, which called it an important proposed expansion of coverage under Part D.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/07/26/gvbf0726.htm.

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