This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
I'd like to offer some context and perspective to "Hatch is under fire for helping drugmaker" (Tribune, Jan. 24).
The article failed to explain the nature and importance of the provision of the American Taxpayer Relief Act that temporarily delays including oral-only drugs in the Medicare payment bundle for dialysis services. This was due to major changes in how Medicare pays for dialysis care.
This action by Congress helps to ensure that vulnerable dialysis patients, who are among our nation's most chronically ill and are disproportionately minority and elderly, continue to receive medicines they need.
Several companies, including Amgen, manufacture these oral treatments. The temporary delay provision also reflects recommendations of an independent U.S. Government Accountability Office report that cautions against prematurely including oral-only medications in the dialysis bundled payment system.
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.
Amgen will continue to advocate for sound federal policies that enhance access to care, with our mission to serve patients leading the way.
Ray Jordan Senior vice president, Amgen
Thousand Oaks, Calif.