Raleigh, NC- Yesterday, Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett), Rep. Larry Hall (D-Durham), Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth) and Rep. Marilyn Avila (R-Wake) filed HB 306 NC Cancer Treatment Fairness Act. This bill meets the vital needs of many North Carolinians by improving access to life saving oral cancer medications, some of which are the most effective medications on the market today.
This bill also seeks to address a serious healthcare issue. Out of pocket expenses for patients prescribed an oral cancer treatment regime are cost prohibitive. In fact, studies show that 25% of patients chose not to fill prescriptions when the out of pocket expenses hit $500 a month.
Scientists and Oncologists across the nation recognize the cost savings in total treatment costs for oral therapies over traditional IV medications. Currently, oral cancer drugs can be extremely costly for patients because insurance plan design has not kept pace with advances in chemotherapy treatment. This is unfairly penalizing patients utilizing newly created orally cancer drugs, and it’s time to recognize the industry wide savings that a more broad based distribution of oral cancer therapies can bring to the health care system. A study by Prime Therapeutics, a pharmacy benefits manager for insurance companies, says that “high out-of-pocket costs may have an impact on patient care and therefore long-term costs.”
The old “one size fits all” cancer treatment adversely affects many families and access to an oral chemotherapy drug would lift the burden of expensive and time consuming treatments.
“Expanding treatment options to cost saving drugs that prove to be extremely effective is the right thing to do for the people of North Carolina,” said Rep. Lewis. “There is no good reason that a person should have to choose to take an IV drug over an oral drug because of a co-pay differential. This bill simply increases access to an effective form of treatment that is often preferable to IV chemotherapy.”
Rep. Lewis is in his seventh term as a North Carolina State House Representative and is Chairman of the Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House and Elections Committees.