CMS Proposes Best Price Waivers for Costly New Therapies

In an effort to boost adoption and lower costs for curative therapies, CMS proposed a new rule that the agency says would allow state Medicaid plans to enter into value-based, outcome-dependent purchasing agreements with drug manufacturers using a new interpretation of best price rules. The new rule also criticized insurers’ redirection of copay accumulators, a common arrangement between plans and patients to pay for expensive specialty drugs.

CMS proposed an updated interpretation of Medicaid “best price” rules — which dictate how rebates are calculated in the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program — by clarifying best price reporting requirements and enabling new structures including year-to-year scheduled prices that could change in relation to patient outcomes. CMS Administrator Seema Verma positioned the new regulation as part of the Trump administration’s broader efforts to lower drug prices and argued that the rule will speed adoption of expensive curative therapies.

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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