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Viewpoint |

Retaining Part D’s Comprehensive Coverage of Antidepressants Not a Silver Bullet

Yuhua Bao, PhD1; Yan Tang, MS2; Julie Donohue, PhD2
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York
2Department of Health Policy and Management, Graduate School of Public Health, and Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(3):201-202. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.2186.
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This Viewpoint briefly reviews evidence on the range of antidepressant choices needed for depression treatment, examines current antidepressant use patterns in Part D, and assesses how the proposed change would affect the quality of antidepressant treatment in Medicare.

Clinicians prescribing antidepressant medication to elderly and disabled Medicare patients have a wide array of choices because antidepressants are among the 6 protected classes of medications in Medicare Part D. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires Part D plans to cover “all or substantially all” drugs in these classes to ensure vulnerable populations’ access to needed medications and to reduce the ability of Part D plans to restrict coverage of drugs used by beneficiaries with high expected costs. However, this requirement has also reduced Part D plans’ abilities to negotiate lower prices with drug companies marketing those drugs.1

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Number of Unique Agents Used in the 6 Months Following Initiation of Antidepressant Treatment
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