(a) General. If an MA plan implements a step therapy program to control the utilization of Part B-covered drugs, the MA organization must -
(1) Apply step therapy only to new administrations of Part B drugs, using at least a 365 day lookback period;
(2) Establish policies and procedures to educate and inform health care providers and enrollees concerning its step therapy policies.
(3) Prior to implementation of a step therapy program, ensure that the step therapy program has been reviewed and approved by the MA organization's pharmacy and therapeutic (P&T) committee.
(b) Step therapy and pharmacy and therapeutic committee requirements. An MA plan must establish a P&T committee prior to implementing any step therapy program. An MA plan must use a P&T committee to review and approve step therapy programs used in connection with Part B drugs. To meet this requirement, a MA-PD plan may utilize an existing Part D P&T committee established for purposes of administration of the Part D benefit under part 423 of this chapter and an MA plan may utilize an existing Part D P&T committee established by an MA-PD plan operated under the same contract as the MA plan. The P&T committee must -
(1) Include a majority of members who are practicing physicians or practicing pharmacists.
(2) Include at least one practicing physician and at least one practicing pharmacist who are independent and free of conflict relative to -
(i) The MA organization and MA plan; and
(ii) Pharmaceutical manufacturers.
(3) Include at least one practicing physician and one practicing pharmacist who are experts regarding care of elderly or disabled individuals.
(4) Clearly articulate and document processes to determine that the requirements under paragraphs (b)(1) through (3) of this section have been met, including the determination by an objective party of whether disclosed financial interests are conflicts of interest and the management of any recusals due to such conflicts.
(5) Base clinical decisions on the strength of scientific evidence and standards of practice, including assessing peer-reviewed medical literature, pharmacoeconomic studies, outcomes research data, and other such information as it determines appropriate.
(6) Consider whether the inclusion of a particular Part B drug in a step therapy program has any therapeutic advantages in terms of safety and efficacy.
(7) Review policies that guide exceptions and other step therapy processes.
(8) Evaluate and analyze treatment protocols and procedures related to the plan's step therapy policies at least annually consistent with written policy guidelines and other CMS instructions.
(9) Document in writing its decisions regarding the development and revision of step therapy activities and make this documentation available to CMS upon request.
(10) Review and approve all step therapy criteria applied to each covered Part B drug.
(11) Meet other requirements consistent with written policy guidelines and other CMS instructions.
(c) Off-label drug requirement. An MA plan may include a drug supported only by an off-label indication in step therapy protocols only if the off-label indication is supported by widely used treatment guidelines or clinical literature that CMS considers to represent best practices.
(d) Non-covered drugs. A step therapy program must not include as a component of a step therapy protocol or other condition or requirement any drugs not covered by the applicable MA plan as a Part B drug or, in the case of an MA-PD plan, a Part D drug.
[84 FR 23880, May 23, 2019]