Recent reclassification of life-saving drugs as "specialty tier" has exploded monthly drug costs for many patients with HIV, cancer, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C, and other diseases and may violate the Affordable Care Act
WHEN: Wednesday, March 25th, 1:00 PM
WHERE: Budget and Finance Committee
Board of Supervisors
San Francisco City Hall, Room 250
WHAT: Today Supervisor Scott Wiener will hold an oversight hearing at the Budget and Finance Committee on the recent policy shift by some insurance companies to reclassify certain medications as "specialty" drugs, thus resulting in exorbitant co-pays for patients, even as high as $1,000 per month. Supervisor Wiener first highlighted this issue when Kaiser Permanente transferred all HIV drugs to the specialty tier, resulting in monthly co-pays increasing from $25 or $50 to over $600. After meeting with Supervisor Wiener and HIV advocates, Kaiser reversed this decision and refunded patients the increased amounts they had paid. Supervisor Wiener publicly thanked Kaiser for that decision. However, the issue is broader than Kaiser and broader than HIV medication. Other insurers have engaged in this move. Moreover, life-saving and life-improving drugs for other diseases, including Hepatitis C, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, are also at issue. At the hearing, the Department of Public Health, insurance providers, and health advocates will provide background on how and why these tiers came to be and what is being done to address this issue going forward.
CONTACT: Supervisor Scott Wiener, (415) 554-6968, firstname.lastname@example.org