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Gus Bilirakis Backs the Cancer Drug Parity Act

Last week, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., threw his support behind U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman’s, R-Wisc., “Cancer Drug Parity Act.”

“This bill lowers costs for cancer patients who are prescribed oral medications by requiring that health insurers provide coverage for oral cancer treatments that is equivalent to conventional intravenous (IV) treatments. Every year, approximately two million Americans are projected to receive a cancer diagnosis. For cancer patients, oral cancer treatments have proven to be a game-changer because they can be administered in the patient’s own home and are less intrusive than IV treatments. Despite their proven success and reliability, oral medications have proved costly for patients. A study of patients prescribed oral cancer medications found that one in eight faced copayments of $2,000 or more for their first prescription,” Bilirakis’ office noted.

Other co-sponsors include U.S. Reps. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Oreg., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., Brian Higgins, D-NY, Doris Matsui, D-Calif., and Joe Morelle, D-NY.

“Every American deserves the most effective cancer treatments available at the most affordable cost,” said Grothman. “As oral medications increase in popularity among cancer patients, we cannot allow outdated health insurance plans to prevent patients from opting for their preferred method of treatment.

“I am glad both sides of the aisle have come together to lower costs for patients taking oral medications. Increased access to treatment, along with parity in the cancer drug marketplace, will improve patients’ well-being and help save lives,” Grothman added.

“Cancer patients should have access to whichever treatment gives them the best chance to fully recover. Technological advancements are improving patient outcomes while minimizing side effects. Patients deserve to benefit from these advancements. This important bill addresses this problem and enables patients to keep their primary focus on getting well,” said Bilirakis.

“Oral cancer treatments are an effective option for many patients and can allow for care at home and better disease management,” said Bonamici. “Unlike traditional IV treatments, oral chemotherapy is typically not covered by health insurance plans, leading to high costs and unaffordable co-payments for patients. I’m glad to join my colleagues to introduce the bipartisan Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act to level the playing field for cancer patients and expand access to lifechanging cancer treatments.”

The International Myeloma Foundation and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network are backing the proposal.

Grothman’s bill was sent to the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee. So far, there is no companion bill in the U.S. Senate.

Author

  • Kevin Derby

    Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.

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