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Summer Brings Big Wins for Tardive Dyskinesia Patients

Access and awareness are one step closer now for people living with a movement disorder known as tardive dyskinesia

This progress comes none too soon for patients suffering from TD, an involuntary and sometimes irreversible movement disorder associated with long-term use of some medications, including antipsychotics. 

Express Scripts Okays Coverage for TD Medication 

The first win came in the announcement that Express Scripts – the largest pharmacy benefit manager in the country – has added the medication valbenazine to its official list of covered drugs as of July 1. The drug is one of only two approved by the FDA to treat TD. 

The Movement Disorders Policy Coalition and other advocates had called upon Express Scripts earlier this year to remove the medication from its drug exclusion list to allow for patient access. 

Valbenazine’s previous placement on the drug exclusion list had meant insurance plans wouldn’t cover it, making it nearly impossible for TD patients to access or afford the medication. Express Scripts’ decision to now cover both drugs will allow TD patients to access whichever treatment is right for them. 

House Calls For TD Report, Resources 

People living with tardive dyskinesia also got good news from Congress. 

Legislation set to pass the House of Representatives would lead to a new and comprehensive federal strategy to help patients with TD. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would be charged with publishing a report cataloging all existing federal resources related to TD. The report would also outline strategies to update and expand those resources. 

If the legislation becomes law, the report will centralize all federal TD resources, research and programs in one place for the first time. 

This news comes after patient and caregiver organizations wrote to Congress earlier this year asking for legislators to set the report in motion. The report will “help support patients, providers and caregivers, and improve care,” explained Josie Cooper, executive director of the Movement Disorders Policy Coalition. 

Both the report and the expanded treatment coverage policy are important steps toward empowering patients with tardive dyskinesia to manage their disease and enjoy full, healthy lives. 

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