ARTICLE | Politics & Policy

CBO: delay of oral drugs in ESRD bundle will save money

February 23, 2013 1:22 AM UTC

According to a memo released by the Senate Finance Committee on Friday, an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office found that a two-year delay to adding oral drugs to CMS's bundled payment rate for end-stage renal disease (ESRD) would actually save money for taxpayers and the Medicare program. According to the memo, the delay will save money because many of the Medicare Part D drugs in the class of therapies, which includes dialysis drug Sensipar cinacalcet from Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN), will soon begin to go off patent. The CBO said adding these drugs to the bundling payment rate before they go off patent would therefore "be locking in a higher rate for the foreseeable future." Sensipar loses patent exclusivity in 2018.

According to the memo, the CBO estimates that an additional one-year delay in the addition of oral drugs to the ESRD bundling rate to 2017 could lead to about $500 million in savings, an additional two-year delay could save about $1.3 billion and an additional 10-year delay could save $2-$4 billion. ...