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Patient & Provider Advocates Applaud Senate Reintroduction of the Cancer Drug Parity Act

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Coalition to Improve Access to Cancer Care (CIACC) and its members from across the cancer patient and provider community today applauded Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Tina Smith (D-MN), for re-introducing legislation to bring fairness to the way that cancer medications are covered by insurance companies.

“The Cancer Drug Parity Act of 2023” will end the out-of-pocket cost disparity for orally administered cancer treatments for the approximately 110 million patients covered by federally-regulated group health plans.

Currently, most insurance companies place traditional IV anticancer treatments under a patient’s medical benefit, while oral anticancer treatments are covered as part of a patient’s prescription drug benefit. Because of this discrepancy, patients on oral treatments can be forced to shoulder much higher out‐of‐pocket costs for their medications. For some cancers, oral medications are the only line of treatment.

“Cancer insurance coverage needs to keep pace with advances in cancer treatment,” said Danielle Doheny, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for the International Myeloma Foundation who chairs the CIACC. “The Cancer Drug Parity Act will ensure that no matter the diagnosis, cancer patients will have fair and equal access to the treatment their oncologist deems best for them, without having to worry about how a particular treatment will be covered by their insurance policy. After making great strides in the Senate last Congress, we are excited to work with the bill sponsors to advance this legislation and bring true parity to all cancer medicines.”

“A top priority for the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) is ensuring that patients have access to quality cancer care,” said ONS President Danya Garner, PhD, RN, NPD-BC, OCN®, CCRN-K. “ONS is proud to support the Cancer Drug Parity Act, and commends Senators Moran and Smith for their leadership in fighting for patients to receive equitable coverage for oral cancer drugs.”

This legislation ensures that any health plan covering cancer care offer patients the same level of cost-sharing for all forms of cancer medicine.

“The Cancer Drug Parity Act puts patients’ needs first,” said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, President & CEO, GO2 for Lung Cancer. “The legislation would ensure that any health care plan currently covering cancer treatments provides 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. At such a promising time when more treatment options are becoming available for lung cancer, we want patients to have equal and affordable access to therapies that can allow them to spend less time in infusion clinics and more time enjoying their own pursuits.”

“CIACC has worked with local partners to enact legislation in 43 states and the District of Columbia to prevent insurance companies from applying different cost sharing rates to oral cancer medicine than they do to chemotherapy or other injected treatments. But those state laws address health plans regulated at the state level, and do not apply to more than half of the country with federally regulated health coverage. The Cancer Drug Parity Act would fix this disparity for plans regulated by the federal government.”

Dr. Julie Gralow, Chief Medical Officer with the Association for Clinical Oncology, said, “We’ve seen tremendous progress in cancer treatments and the Cancer Drug Parity Act would protect patients’ access to the treatments their doctors prescribe. By ensuring that patient cost sharing for oral anticancer drugs is no less favorable than for IV chemotherapy, the bill would help remove one financial barrier to care and ensure patients get the right treatment at the right time. We applaud the reintroduction of the bill and urge its quick passage.”

About the Coalition to Improve Access to Cancer Care:

The Coalition for Improved Access to Cancer Care (CIACC) is a patient-focused organization representing patients, health-care professionals, care centers and industry committed to ensuring cancer patients have equal access to all approved cancer regimes, including (but not limited to) oral and intravenous drugs, injections, surgery, radiation, transplantation, etc. Follow us on Twitter @CancerCare4All.

Media Contact

Danielle Doheny, International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) Director of Public Policy and Advocacy
Phone: 202-531-7954


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