News Releases

Sens. Moran, Smith Reintroduce Bill to Make Life-Saving Orally Administered Cancer Medications More Affordable

Legislation Makes Certain Oral Drugs are Covered in Same Way as Traditional IV Chemotherapy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) today reintroduced the Cancer Drug Parity Act to bring down healthcare costs for cancer patients by making certain insurance companies cover orally administered cancer drugs in the same way as traditional intravenous (IV) chemotherapy.

“As the number of orally administered cancer drugs increase each year, patients ought to be able to immediately benefit from these medical advancements,” said Sen. Moran. “This sensible legislation would keep health insurance on pace with the latest cancer treatments, build on laws already implemented in 43 states and expand access to orally administered cancer drugs for 100 million individuals covered through group and individual health plans. I am a strong supporter of medical research to find new treatments, therapies and cures, and I will work to make certain these cutting-edge treatments can reach cancer patients and ultimately save lives.”

“Advances in cancer treatment have made it possible for Americans to get life-saving oral cancer medication. This means people can now take the life-saving medicine they need without having to leave their homes, and in a far less intrusive way than traditional IV chemotherapy,” said Sen. Smith. “But since oral cancer medications are self-administered, many people are having to shell out more dollars because this medication isn’t covered the same way as IV treatments. I’m reintroducing my bipartisan bill with Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas to put a stop to charging more for oral cancer drugs because we should be doing all we can to make life-saving cancer treatment more affordable for all Americans.”

“Science is dramatically changing the way cancer is treated. Even with these breakthroughs, too many cancer patients can’t access their treatments because insurance rules have not kept pace with innovation,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., President and CEO of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “The Cancer Drug Parity Act will eliminate the financial barriers that stand between many cancer patients and the breakthrough treatments that could save their lives. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society applauds Senator Smith and Senator Moran for their leadership on behalf of cancer patients and stands ready to work with Congress to move this important bill forward.”

Currently, over 40 states – including Kansas and Minnesota – and the District of Columbia have passed “oral parity” laws that stop insurers from charging more for prescribed orally administered cancer medicine than traditional (IV) chemotherapy. The Cancer Drug Parity Act would build on this work by expanding these protections at the federal level.

The Cancer Drug Parity Act would prevent insurers from covering oral and self-administered medicines at different cost sharing rates than traditional IV chemotherapy. It would not mandate that healthcare plans provide chemotherapy coverage, but rather only apply to plans already covering chemotherapy.

This bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

The Cancer Drug Parity Act has broad support from a number of organizations, including AIM at Melanoma, American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology, Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation, Association of Community Cancer Centers, Association of American Cancer Institutes, Astellas Pharma US, CancerCare, Cancer Support Community, Celgene, Community Oncology Alliance, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Debbie’s Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE), Fight Colorectal Cancer, Genentech, Inc., Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association, International Myeloma Foundation, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, LUNGevity, Lymphoma Research Foundation, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Co., Medical College of Wisconsin, National Brain Tumor Society, National Patient Advocate Foundation, Oncology Nursing Society, Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, Patient Services, Incorporated, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Susan G. Komen, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-James Cancer Hospital and Richard J Solove Institute, WVU Medicine and Zero – The End of Prostate Cancer.

Items to note:

  • A summary of the legislation can be found here, and full text of the bill can be found here.
  • On December 12, 2018, Sens. Moran and Smith first introduced this legislation
  • On December 14, 2018, numerous organizations and individuals expressed their support for the Cancer Drug Parity Act.

# # #