U.S. Senators Tina Smith and Jerry Moran Work To Make Oral Cancer Drugs As Affordable For Patients As Intravenous Chemotherapy

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Their cancer drug parity law would help reduce reimbursable medical costs for oral cancer drugs

WASHINGTON DC [10/27/21]– U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn) and Jerry Moran (R-Kans.) Today introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure cancer patients who are given oral medications do not face thousands of dollars in spending unaffordable that health plans regularly. coverage for patients receiving traditional IV chemotherapy treatments.

Their Cancer Drug Parity Act responds to recent improvements to oral cancer drugs by preventing insurers from charging cancer patients higher user fees for these drugs than they charge those who receive their chemotherapy drug intravenously. Almost 2 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year. In 2017, one in eight patients prescribed oral cancer drugs had co-payments totaling more than $ 2,000.

“Oral cancer drugs have seen significant improvements that are improving the lives of cancer patients across the country,” Senator Smith said. “They are less intrusive than traditional IV treatments, allows patients to receive treatment at home and has turned cancer into a manageable chronic disease for many. But while intravenous treatments are covered by a health plan’s medical benefit – with a moderate to minimum co-payment – oral medications are self-administered and covered by drug benefits, resulting in high co-payments. and often unaffordable. This can cost patients thousands of dollars each year and cause many to delay or forgo the care needed to treat their cancer. Our bill brings parity to these two types of treatment and reduces costs for those taking oral cancer drugs. “

“As cancer research and treatments continue to improve, it is essential to maintain health insurance coverage that matches these medical advances. ” Senator Moran said. “Our legislation builds on laws already implemented in more than 40 states, including Kansas, to expand access to oral cancer drugs. Cancer patients should be able to immediately benefit from cutting-edge treatments developed through American medical ingenuity, and making certain oral cancer drugs affordable will improve the effectiveness of care for cancer patients.

Biparty legislation is also supported by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), John Boozman (R-AK), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Ed Markey (D-MA).

“We are grateful to Senators Smith and Moran for their tireless work in providing fair cancer treatment insurance coverage for the millions of patients that this legislation will have an impact.” said Robin Levy, senior director of public policy and advocacy for the International Myeloma Foundation, which chairs the Coalition to Improve Access to Cancer Care. “With their colleagues in the House, I have no doubts that we can pass the Cancer Medication Parity Act to ensure that patients are fighting their cancer, not for affordable access to the treatments they need.

Create parity, reduce costs for cancer patients

Senators said that more than 40 states and the District of Columbia have enacted “oral parity” laws, which prevent health plans from creating separate cost-sharing requirements for oral and self-administered cancer drugs. They made a significant difference for cancer patients. In 2017, researchers found that in States with oral parity laws, zero dollar quotas have more than tripled for oral cancer drugs.

Senators Smith and Moran’s bipartisan cancer drug parity law would build on this state-level success by:

· Extend oral parity protections to privately insured patients whose health care is federally regulated.

· Prevent insurers from covering oral and self-administered drugs at different cost-sharing rates than IV chemotherapy.

· Implement these requirements for health plans that already cover oral and IV chemotherapy treatments.


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