43 states have passed drug coverage parity laws. It's time for Congress to do the same.
The biggest barrier to successful cancer treatment today often isn’t the existence of the right treatment, but the access to it. Due to a quirk in how Medicare and private insurance plans cover cancer drugs, chemotherapy in the preferred pill form costs patients thousands of dollars a month whereas intravenous drugs administered in a hospital or oncologist’s office may only require a small copay. Passing the Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act, currently before Congress, would help improve accessibility by eliminating this pricing disparity.
Additionally, roughly one-third of new chemotherapies only exist in pill form, meaning patients treated with the newest and best therapies have no other option. For instance, the most widely used drug for brain cancer is temozolomide and it is virtually always prescribed in pill form. Gleevec is the treatment for a deadly form of leukemia that only comes in pill form. There is no IV alternative.