Court Ruling: Delaying Most Favored Nation Rule Important First Step Toward Ending Flawed Model

Statement By: Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, FASCO Board Chair of the Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
For immediate release
December 23, 2020

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Melissa Lee
(571) 483-1661

"The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) applauds the decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to grant a temporary restraining order on the implementation of the Most Favored Nation (MFN) Interim Final Rule. Judge Blake’s decision delays the model’s implementation for 14 days while she considers a preliminary injunction, which would further delay the model. The decision notes that there is likely to be irreparable harm if the rule goes into effect January 1, suggesting that the preliminary injunction will likely be granted.

“ASCO has opposed MFN since its release and we’re glad it will not go into effect at the start of the new year given the devastating impact it would have on individuals with cancer. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) own projections show that the model will cause 19% of beneficiaries to lose access to the MFN’s 50 targeted drugs, 38 of which are used to treat cancer. ASCO’s analysis of the model finds that, just as an example, the model’s reimbursement cuts to four drugs commonly used to treat lung and other cancers would result in patients with lung cancer losing as many as 87,556 years of life due to their loss of access to these drugs over the model’s seven-year duration.

“We urge CMS to withdraw MFN and to work with us to adopt policies that truly address the cost of care and improve Medicare beneficiaries’ access to cancer treatment. Hopefully, this delay in the model’s implementation will be the first step toward a full withdrawal of the flawed rule.

“ASCO has and will continue to work in good faith with the Administration toward the shared goal of controlling the rising cost of cancer drug treatments. However, we will continue to oppose MFN and any model that threatens Medicare beneficiary access to essential cancer care.” 

About ASCO: 

The Association for Clinical Oncology is a 501 (c)(6) organization that represents nearly 45,000 oncology professionals who care for people living with cancer. Established by the American Society of Clinical Oncology in 2019, the Association works to ensure that all individuals with cancer have access to high-quality, affordable care; that the cancer care delivery system supports optimal cancer care; and that our nation supports robust federal funding for research on the prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Learn more at www.ascoassociation.org and follow us on Twitter at @ASCO.