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Proposed Medicare drug rules to rein in costs threaten industry profits, patient access

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New rules proposed by the Obama administration to limit the array of antidepressants and other prescription drugs currently available to millions of seniors has set off an intense round of lobbying by patient advocates and pharmaceutical companies eager to preserve profits and access.

It is a significant shift that is part of a larger set of rules designed to rein in taxpayer-funded health care spending, and represents the collision between the government’s mandate to restrain costs and threatened industry profits. Consumer advocates also fear that the changes could result in seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries not receiving the specific drugs that they need.

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