Second Court Blocks Most Favored Nation Model Implementation

January 6, 2021

On December 28, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking the implementation of the Most Favored Nation (MFN) Model. The decision prevents the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from implementing the MFN Model until the agency completes the notice and comment procedures required by the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires CMS to solicit comments on a proposal and respond to those comments before finalizing any rules implementing a new payment model. ASCO submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of this litigation, and others, to enjoin implementation of the model.

The decision came just days after the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland granted a temporary restraining order, delaying the MFN Model’s implementation for 14 days. The model had been scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2021.

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has opposed the MFN Model since its release and is pleased it did not go into effect on January 1. However, given the devastating impact, the model would have on people with cancer, ASCO will continue to advocate for a full withdrawal of the proposal.   

CMS estimates that the MFN Model will cause 19% of Medicare beneficiaries to lose access to the model’s 50 targeted drugs, 38 of which are used to treat cancer. ASCO’s analysis finds that reimbursement cuts to just 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.

ASCO will continue to engage in good faith with the Administration on the shared goal of controlling the rising cost of cancer drug treatments. However, the Association will continue to oppose MFN and any model that threatens Medicare beneficiary access to essential cancer care.

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