Compendia and Anticancer Therapy Under Medicare
In 1993, Congress directed the Medicare program to refer to 3 existing published compendia, American Medical Association Drug Evaluations (AMA-DE), United States Pharmacopoeia Drug Information for the Health Professional (USP-DI), and American Hospital Formulary Service Drug Information (AHFS-DI), to identify unlabeled but medically accepted uses of drugs and biologicals in anticancer chemotherapy regimens. Public discussion during the preceding years had centered on whether to designate unlabeled uses of anticancer treatments as experimental and thus outside the scope of Medicare benefits. American Medical Association Drug Evaluations and USP-DI subsequently ceased publication, and the Medicare program faced increasing calls to revise the list of acceptable compendia, as authorized in the statute. In 2007, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services used its regulatory authority to establish a publicly transparent process to revise the list. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services considered 5 requests in 2008 and added National Comprehensive Cancer Network Drugs and Biologics Compendium, DRUGDEX, and Clinical Pharmacology to the list of compendia. DrugPoints was not added, and AMA-DE was removed. Because of the potential for conflicts of interest to lead to biased judgments, the 2008 Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act has a provision that explicitly prohibits inclusion of compendia that do not have a publicly transparent process for evaluating therapies and identifying potential conflicts of interest.
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