Wednesday kicks off American Heart Month, so this week we’re looking at heart health and how important it is for patients to have access to needed medicines for heart disease and stroke. This is especially true for older Americans. According to the American Heart Association, nearly 7 in 10 Americans age 60 to 79 have cardiovascular disease.
Part D offers affordable access to medicines to help millions of beneficiaries manage heart disease. As we’ve highlighted before, improved medication adherence following expansion of Medicare Part D led to nearly $2.3 billion in annual savings in Medicare expenditures among beneficiaries with congestive heart failure, according to one study. We’ve also seen evidence of Medicare Part D saving lives when it comes to heart disease, with cardiovascular-related mortality rates having dropped by 15 percent since the implementation of the program in 2006.
A new study adds to this growing body of research, finding that adherence to high cholesterol medicines among Medicare beneficiaries, specifically statins, was associated with a lower prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease currently, biopharmaceutical researchers are studying more than 70 potential new treatments, and this study’s finding provides new hope for patients at risk of being diagnosed with the disease.
Since its implementation, Part D has helped tens of millions of patients access needed prescriptions – prescriptions that have helped them manage a number of chronic conditions and live longer, healthier lives. We must protect Part D from harmful proposals that could restrict beneficiary access to medicines.