Dec 14 2018
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) along with Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), recently introduced the Cancer Drug Parity Act – bipartisan legislation that would make certain oral cancer drugs are covered in the same way as traditional IV chemotherapy to bring down costs for Americans battling cancer.
Currently, over 40 states – including Kansas – have passed “oral parity” laws that stop insurers from requiring patients to pay higher cost-sharing rates for oral chemotherapy drugs than traditional IV chemotherapies. The Cancer Drug Parity Act would build on this work by expanding these protections at the federal level.
The Cancer Drug Parity Act is supported by more than 30 organizations, including The Susan G. Komen Foundation and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Statements in support of the Cancer Drug Parity Act are included below.
Dr. Roy Jensen, Director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center and President of the Association of American Cancer Institutes:
“Many patients face obstacles when accessing oral chemotherapy drugs. At a time when developments in cancer care are advancing rapidly, it is essential for cancer centers like ours to provide patients with access to the best treatment. For some patients, there are no viable alternatives to oral chemotherapy drugs, which often come with high out-of-pocket costs. Oral chemotherapy is a priority for KU Cancer Center and for AACI, and we are delighted that Senators Moran and Smith are introducing this much-needed legislation.”
Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D, President and CEO of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society:
“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. 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.”
Robin Levy, Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for the International Myeloma Foundation:
“Having legislation introduced in both the House and the Senate to increase access to life saving medicines is an exciting step forward in the process to bring out of pocket cost fairness to all cancer treatments. For too long, some cancer patients have been put in the untenable position of having to choose between the treatment their oncologist recommends, and the treatment that their insurance company will cover. With passage of this bill, cancer patients can focus on getting well, not on the what ifs of insurance coverage.”
Paula Schneider, President and CEO of Susan G. Komen:
“We are entering a period of incredible advancement in our ability to treat breast cancers. Yet none of our breakthroughs in the lab will matter if patients can’t access them. Every breast cancer patient should have access to the right treatments for them, without worrying about the financial impact of outdated insurance design. Oral chemotherapy better allows patients to be with families and even continue to work as able, instead of the burden of having to travel to and spend hours at a clinic receiving traditional chemotherapy. It should be available at no additional cost. We look forward to working with Senator Moran, and the entire Senate, to pass the Cancer Drug Parity Act.”
The Coalition to Improve Access to Cancer Care:
“Your bill would ensure that any health care plan currently covering cancer treatment provide patients with access to cancer medications taken by pill at a similar out?of?pocket cost as cancer medications administered by IV, port, or injection at a doctor's office. Similar legislation introduced in the Senate in the last Congress was supported by 21 bipartisan co-sponsors. The House version of the Cancer Drug Parity Act, H.R. 1409, currently has 175 bipartisan co-sponsors, and support continues to grow. We thank you again for your leadership and believe we have a great opportunity to build on this strong foundation of support to make a lasting difference for cancer patients.”
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