I attended a meeting this afternoon sponsored by the IMF. The topic: Making sure that sub-q and oral cancer medications are covered by Medicare and private insurance in the same way that intravenously infused medications are.
With up to 35% of new cancer drugs expected to be oral medications, the IMF is pushing Congress hard to enact oral cancer drug parity legislation.
Intravenous (IV) cancer medications are typically covered by Medicare or insurance. Oral cancer drugs in many states are not.
A recent study found that 10% of cancer patients did not fill their initial prescriptions due to the high cost.
A new Patients Equal Access Coalition (PEAC) was founded with the help of the IMF to address inequalities in the way cancer drugs are classified and paid for.
The PEAC’s position: Every cancer patients should have access to the treatments recommended by their physicians. Patients should not suffer from cost discrimination based on the type of therapy provided OR the mechanism for the delivery of that therapy.
Apparently, the House of Representatives is considering a bill to do just that.
HR 2746, the Cancer Coverage Parity Act is collecting co-sponsors now. At this time, there is no corresponding Senate bill to do the same.
It is hard for me to see any argument against this legislation, except for the fact that passage could push insurance rates higher–always a consideration during these cash-strapped times.
I should disclose that the IMF paid my expenses to attend the meeting–and served a tasty, healthy lunch at Busters on the San Diego waterfront.
There’s a reason ASH is scheduled in places like New Orleans and San Diego in December!
Several myeloma related oral presentations are scheduled to start shortly. Better get moving…
I will be reporting on some of the exciting multiple myeloma research results I saw today first thing tomorrow.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat