Who Should Decide What Medications You Should Take? Your Clinician or the Government?

SARDAA is grateful to Rep. Murphy, a clinical psychologist, who grilled an official with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at a committee hearing on Wednesday.  Murphy said, “You are the people’s worst fears—you have no background, no education, no degree, and are practicing medicine without a license”.

The new federal regulation would reduce access to the types of antidepressant and antipsychotic medications available to Medicare patients from more than 25 down to as few as two. Mental health medications are not interchangeable because they have different molecular compositions and side effects.  A clinician, not the government, should decide what medications should be prescribed.

Restricting access to psychiatric medications is further restricting treatment of mental illness thus increasing hospital stays, suicide rates and productivity.  This is a matter of life and death for individuals living with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depression

Rep. Murphy cited a letter from the American Psychiatric Association that said Administration officials selectively quoted and edited the APA’s medical guidelines to justify their decision.

Last month, Rep. Murphy wrote to the Administrator of CMS requesting information about the clinical basis of the new agency proposal to remove “protected class” status for two categories of non-interchangeable mental health drugs. He also authored the Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act, which would codify current agency policy known as “protected classes” for classes of antidepressants and anti-psychotic medications.

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