Easy to Swallow: Legislation To End Oral Medicine Discrimination

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  • 05/02/2013
Too often medicines that reduce the time, cost and toxicity of treating cancer, blood disoders or inflammatory conditions cost consumers more out of pocket compared to medicines that are  infused and treat the same disease.   Oral therapies for CML, multiple myeloma and other rare diseases can reduce the amount of hospitalization by 50 percent if not more, even as they extend life by years.

 There should be one rule for reimbursement: If a treatment is targeted and works best in a particularly patient, it should be used and paid for.   Indeed,  many new medicines actually save health plans and hospitals  money, especially if they target a particular mutation or disease mechanism in a smaller group of patients.   Why should we pay more money for medicines that are more effective and more valuable?  We shouldn't.  And it speaks to the issue of patients being exposed to higher copays for cancer treatments that, while expensive, a less costly than the types of care they replace.    So does The Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act, H.R. 1801 a new congressional proposal to end discrimination against patients who opt for an oral form of therapy that works best for them.  Sponsored by Congressman Brian Higgins (D-NY) the legislation would require insurance companies to cover patient-administered and physician-administered anticancer drugs at the same cost to patients.
This is a piece of legislation that ensures regulation keeps up with medical innovation.   Let's hope it passes and is signed into  law as quickly as possible.



Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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