Cencora's Corey Ford Discusses the Future of the Inflation Reduction Act


In an interview with Pharma Commerce Associate Editor Don Tracy, Corey Ford, VP, Reimbursement & Policy Insights, Cencora, offers his thoughts on where the Inflation Reduction Act will be five to 10 years from now.

PC: How do you believe the IRA will evolve over the next five to 10 years?

Ford: There's a lot of different thoughts out there in terms of where we see IRA going. Do we see several tweets? o we see major changes and overhauls to the law itself? Or do we see it even go away completely whether we have a sea change in terms of the political dynamics in Washington starting next year post the election? Does the lawsuit get rid of the Medicare negotiation program?

I think there's a wide spectrum here in terms of what can happen. But if I had to pick, think what you're going to see is probably some additional fixes and tweaks to the law, trying to enhance patient access to minimize some of the unintended consequences for Medicare beneficiaries. Also, trying to get patient engagement through the negotiation process as well. That’s where I think you'll see a lot of changes to the law. We have some proxies to previous legislation to help us think this through.

There have been numerous legislations before in the past in the pharmaceutical space that has really tried to spur on innovation, when we think of things like the Orphan Drug Act, or even Hatch Waxman. Even within these major landmark acts that have been passed in Congress, there's been follow up legislation to further refine them. Even if we don't necessarily see refinement in Congress with IRA, I think we certainly could see that from a regulatory standpoint to help minimize some of the negative impact for some of these unintended consequences that I've mentioned and what it means for patients.

PC: Next month, you’ll be kicking off the PAP 2024 conference with a presentation titled: “State of the Industry—The Changing Landscape of Healthcare Coverage and Access.” Without giving away too much information, can you tell us what to expect from your speech?

Ford: I won't give too much away; it's going to be a lot of fun. From what we’ll focus on, a good portion of it will be IRA and where we're seeing the patient support programs going in terms of their criteria and how to educate beneficiaries. Regarding some of the other topics we’ve discussed in the past, there's been a lot of developments in copay accumulators and what’s happened from a recent court ruling. We’ll tackle access to health insurance. The Medicaid unwinding, due to the public health emergency ending to things like the PDM Transparency Act and what that means for patient access. We’ll also be trying to crystal ball a little bit with the election, where that could go and what it means for health policy. So, we’ll cover those.

The theme of it will be when we think about what's happening in the world, right, it feels chaotic, right? You look at all the polling, and it seems like the country is on the wrong direction. You also apply what is going on in the industry. In terms of the public the negative perceptions, according to polling that the public has on pharma, the layoffs, and the reduced resources that industry is facing, it paints a picture of a pretty tough environment. But I think it's also important for us to understand that there is some hope out there. It begins with the people that are going to be in that audience. As patient support folks, they’re the last line of defense. They’re on the front lines of ensuring that patients can get access to a therapy when everything else has failed. Also, what are the tactics that you can put forth to continue supporting patients?

That’s what we want people walking away with, a feeling of being able to do this, and to at least be equipped with some of those ideas for how to evolve their patient support programs to effectively support their patients.

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