The CMS administrator has rejected a joint recommendation by independent panels that questioned whether certain Pfizer cancer drug workers should receive a double-digit pay raise.
Last month, CMS proposed a raise of 4.5%, though after the federal advisory panels who heard the case delivered unfavorable recommendations, the agency moved to water down the proposal. Now the CMS administrator, Seema Verma, has overruled both the panel and her own agency, ordering the pay increase.
Takeaway: Making an independent agency recommendation doesn’t always matter when the CMS administrator wants to make a policy. That is, Verma is a Republican Trump appointee, and she backed the proposal, which could have meant more money for drug companies.
The main issue: The companies argued that not only are they subject to the guidelines of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but the doctors, hospitals and other drugmakers are their customers, so the companies should bear the burden of ethical guidelines.