Access to life-saving drugs for our patients is an issue we all struggle with daily. The College’s Advocacy Council is very active with many partners to secure improved access with a minimum of hassle. One of those valued partners is The Alliance for Patient Access (AfPA), a patient advocacy group that works to change policy both nationally and locally. It also shines a light on potentially dubious practices like step therapy and “fail first” standards enforced by many third party payors.
Some of our Advocacy Council and College leaders actively participate in AfPA workgroups. Our Executive Medical Director, Michael Blaiss, MD, FACAAI, is a member of the biologics workgroup and Vice President, Allen Meadows, MD, FACAAI, chairs the respiratory workgroup. The AfPA was an active partner in helping us develop our Prior Authorization Toolkit, which many College members have used to help get needed drugs for their patients.
Another AfPA affiliate group, the Institute for Patient Access (IfPA), has written a white paper on another mysterious barrier maker, the Boston-based Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER). ICER describes itself as providing an independent “value-based” analysis of expensive drugs. While value is something we all want, their “one-size-fits-all” analysis leaves little room for shared decision-making with our patients – something the College has tools to help you and your patients with, on atopic dermatitis, severe asthma, and immunotherapy. Many insurance companies are using ICER reports to deny access to IL-5 inhibitors because of negative reviews. We believe the white paper, The ICER Myth, is well worth a read.
J. Allen Meadows MD, FACAAI