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National Patient Advocate Foundation Responds to N.C. State House Approval of Flawed Cancer Treatment Fairness Bill
Date:5/16/2013

RALEIGH, N.C., May 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the National Patient Advocate Foundation acknowledges that the North Carolina House of Representatives recently approved a bill that would prohibit insurers who offer coverage for chemotherapy from charging patients higher out-of-pocket fees for newer, more expensive oral anti-cancer drugs than for IV formularies, many of which have more severe side-effects. However, the bill was amended to include a maximum out-of-pocket limit of $300, which will continue to be a barrier to patients with cancer and in need of essential life saving medications. NPAF urges North Carolina's senators to approve legislation that would require insurers to offer parity in the cost of anti-cancer medications by removing the $300 requirement.

"The method in which the drug or the treatment is delivered needs to be treated with parity," said sponsor Rep. David Lewis , R-Harnett. "That means it needs to cost the same."

Despite the increasing availability of oral chemotherapy drugs providing greater comfort and convenience for cancer patients, many health insurance plans often cover oral chemotherapy drugs under prescription drug coverage, which is generally not financially feasible as coverage for IV drugs. Many cancer patients opt to undergo inconvenient and physically difficult IV treatments at a facility because they cannot afford orally administered chemotherapy drugs. Though NPAF is in support of the N.C. Cancer Treatment Fairness Act as originally written, the organization does not support amended language that changes the original bill and sets a $300 out-of-pocket maximum per filled prescription of an oral cancer drug in addition to delaying the implementation date to January, 2015. North Carolina's senators now have an opportunity to correct the problematic amendmen
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SOURCE National Patient Advocate Foundation
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