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Federal officials scrap proposed rule to cut spending on Medicare Part B drugs

Federal health officials decided not to move forward with a proposed rule to cut spending on prescription drugs after stakeholders raised concerns that it could put patients' access to important medications at risk, The New York Times reported.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reportedly told the news outlet that the decision to scrap the project was taken after considering public comments on the proposed rule.

President Barack Obama's administration said Medicare's payment formula rewards doctors for prescribing expensive medicines. The proposed rule planned to test whether reducing reimbursements for Medicare Part B drugs would encourage doctors to prescribe less expensive medicines, according to the report.

The proposed rule was criticized by pharmaceutical companies, doctors, patients and members of Congress from both parties who said it focused on cost savings more than it did on protecting patients' access to life-saving drugs, the Times reported.