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Letters: Medicare and Amgen

April 11, 2013

Re "Remove Medicare's straitjacket," Opinion, March 29

Art Kellerman misunderstands why Congress delayed inclusion of oral-only drugs in the Medicare payment bundle for dialysis services. It wasn't to give Amgen and other drug makers a major windfall; it was done because of major changes in how Medicare pays for dialysis care.

This action by Congress ensures that vulnerable dialysis patients, who are among our nation's most chronically ill, continue to receive the medicine they need.

Also, a new government budget analysis shows that keeping oral-only drugs in Medicare Part D would actually achieve savings over time for taxpayers and Medicare.

Several companies, including Amgen, manufacture these oral treatments. The temporary delay provision also reflects recommendations of an independent U.S. Government Accountability Office report cautioning against prematurely including oral-only medications in the dialysis bundled payment system.

Amgen will continue to advocate for sound policies that enhance access to care.

Ray Jordan

Thousand Oaks

The writer is Amgen's senior vice president for corporate affairs.


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