Phar­ma-backed char­i­ty sues HHS to help pay for se­niors' pricey can­cer drugs

A char­i­ty backed by a coali­tion of can­cer drug man­u­fac­tur­ers wants to pro­vide fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to Medicare Part D pa­tients deal­ing with ex­pen­sive can­cer drugs. But HHS in­sists that any mon­e­tary help would be a vi­o­la­tion of a crim­i­nal law that pro­hibits com­pa­nies from pro­vid­ing re­mu­ner­a­tion for in­duc­ing the pur­chase of such drugs.

To fight that de­ci­sion, the non­prof­it char­i­ty filed suit on Wednes­day in Vir­ginia dis­trict court. The suit fol­lows a close­ly-watched Pfiz­er court loss in Ju­ly, where an ap­peals judge found the Big Phar­ma can­not help pa­tients with their co-pays for its $225,000 per year heart drug with­out vi­o­lat­ing the fed­er­al an­ti-kick­back law.

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