The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) has publicly announced its support for the Patients’ Access to Treatments Act (PATA), which is currently being debated in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bi-partisan legislation was presented last week by representatives David B. McKinley (R-WV) and Lois Capps (D-CA) and is designed to reduce the cost-sharing requirements of therapies for diseases such as pulmonary hypertension (PH).
The legislation is expected to decrease specialty tier cost-sharing requisitions in order to make life-saving drug treatments more accessible and decrease health care costs for patients. The PHA argues that PATA could change the lives of thousands of people who suffer from the rare and debilitating lung disease such as PH by ensuring that a larger pool of patients have access to top-shelf medication at lower prices. Despite the fact that there is no cure for the disease, therapy can significantly improve patients’ quality of life, who have an estimated survival rate of 2.8 years if not treated.
“Without treatment, individuals with PH live only a few years on average. There are twelve PH treatments available, but that doesn’t matter if patients can’t pay for them,” stated Katie Kroner, the Director of Advocacy and Awareness at PHA, in a press release. “This is a very real problem, and PHA is proud to be part of the Coalition for Accessible Treatments’ efforts in this regard.”
The PHA further highlighted that there is an alarming trend spreading throughout the healthcare market that is transferring the most expensive treatments into specialty tiers, purportedly to use them to increase profits by making patients pay large proportions of the medications’ costs. Drug treatments that are placed in specialty tiers can cost thousands of dollars monthly, making them less accessible to patients.
These practices not only reduce access to medically necessary therapies, but can also increase this disease’s progression, disability, and mortality. PHA is supporting the PATA effort in order to give a voice to the PH community, which the association believes is willing to mobilize and support the legislation. On April 16, advocates and supporters will be joining the PHA’s National Call-In Day, during which they will call members of the Congress to share their stories and ask them to co-sponsor the bill.