Free Enterprise Project Probes Role of Outside Advisory Group in Determining Patient Care

Woonsocket, RI/Washington, DC – CVS Health executives were asked today to clarify their partnership with a controversial organization that appears to be trying to ration patient care and distort the market for pharmaceutical pricing, potentially paving the way for a Medicare-for-All system.

Free Enterprise Project (FEP) Director Justin Danhof, Esq., questioned CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo over the company’s relationship with Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), a nonprofit group that bills itself as a medical review board, at today’s annual meeting of CVS Health shareholders held at the company’s headquarters in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

Regarding ICER, Danhof noted:

ICER was founded by Dr. Steven Pearson. Pearson previously worked with the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Thanks to NICE guidelines, millions of British citizens are on waiting lists at any given time for procedures, hundreds of thousands are waiting for basic diagnostic tests, and thousands of operations are regularly cancelled. The Guardian recently reported that patients in Britain “who are losing their sight are being forced to wait for months before having eye cataracts removed because” of “imposed restrictions on patients’ access to cataract surgery in more than half of England.” ?That sounds a lot like the left’s Medicare-for-All plan.

Danhof then asked:

Can you explain how working with ICER benefits CVS Health consumers, and why CVS would discriminate against folks with disabilities and the elderly?

Danhof’s full question, as prepared for delivery, is available here.

“Merlo claimed that one of the company’s goals is to ensure that new drugs that lack competition enter the market at suitable price points. While that is a fine goal, it’s hard to see how ICER plays an appropriate role in that process. It doesn’t research, develop or market the drugs ? individual pharmaceutical companies do that. Those companies are best positioned to know what inputs were put into a specific drug in order to set a market price, not ICER,” said Danhof.