Press Releases

ACR Supports Reintroduced Legislation that Increases Medication Affordability and Eliminates Specialty Tier Cost Sharing

ATLANTA ‐ The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is pleased to support the recent reintroduction of the Patients’ Access to Treatments Act (H.R. 1600), also known as PATA. This important bipartisan legislation introduced in the House of Representatives this week by Reps. David B. McKinley (R‐WV) and Lois Capps (D‐CA), will limit cost‐sharing requirements for medications placed in a specialty tier and make innovative and necessary medications more accessible by reducing excessive out‐of‐pocket expenses.

This legislation is critical for patients with chronic, disabling, and life threatening conditions who are losing access to medications, including important biologic drugs. Placing medications on specialty tiers requires patients to pay 20-50 percent of the drug costs.

“The result is that many patients are underutilizing or foregoing treatment all together, which can lead to further disability and more costly procedures down the lines,” says E. William St.Clair, MD, American College of Rheumatology president.

The practice of moving more expensive drugs onto specialty tiers that utilize high patient cost-sharing methods is an alarming trend in today’s health insurance market. The patient costs for drugs in specialty tiers can reach into the thousands of dollars a month, placing medically-necessary treatments out of reach of average insured Americans. For many patients, this leads to failure to adhere to a treatment plan, which can lead to worsening disease, increased rates of disability, and rising health care costs.

“Rheumatologists treat many patients with chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis that are potentially disabling and debilitating. Patients with these chronic diseases need access to the most effective therapies that can enable daily functioning and pursuit of their livelihoods. Among these therapies are innovative medications that are often very expensive. When insurers demand excessive cost sharing for these medications, the average American with a chronic disease no longer has access to affordable treatment,” says Dr. St.Clair. “The ACR is grateful to Congressman McKinley and Congresswoman Capps for their leadership in reintroducing the bipartisan Patients’ Access to Treatments Act and pledge our full support toward passage of this important bill.”

The ACR is one of 32 members of the Coalition for Accessible Treatments, which encourages patients and physicians to ask lawmakers to support and co-sponsor the Patients’ Access to Treatments Act of 2015. Learn more about PATA and the other ACR’s legislative priorities at ACR's Legislative Action Center.

Bonny Senkbeil


The American College of Rheumatology is an international medical society representing over 9,400 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals with a mission to Advance Rheumatology! In doing so, the ACR offers education, research, advocacy and practice management support to help its members continue their innovative work and provide quality patient care. Rheumatologists are experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of more than 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases. For more information, visit

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