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National Patient Advocate Foundation Urges Ohio Legislature to Support Oral Chemotherapy Legislation

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) voiced strong support for the Oral Chemotherapy Legislation (SB194) at a hearing before the Senate, Commerce and Labor Committee yesterday.  The bill ensures equity for patient out-of-pocket costs for oral and intravenous (IV) chemotherapy anti-cancer medications and protects patients by ensuring they receive their IV chemotherapy in a safe manner.

While chemotherapy has traditionally been provided through intravenous treatments, new cancer care medications are available that allow patients to administer them orally, improving patient quality of life and reducing avoidable hospital visits.  Unfortunately, these new medications often come at an extremely high cost to the patient, limiting patient access and burdening patients will financially-crippling expenses that are not currently covered under insurance plan prescription drug benefits.

Kathleen Werling, a two-time cancer survivor currently undergoing treatment for Stage IV Malignant Melanoma, spoke at yesterday's hearing in support of the legislation based on her personal experiences with high out-of-pocket costs for her IV treatment that devastated her family financially.  "We had already incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical debt from the first diagnosis of my Melanoma due to it being a pre-existing condition. We had drained our college funds of six children, along with our retirement fund.  We were living day to day, paycheck to paycheck," Werling stated. "So you can understand our devastation."

NPAF strongly believes that all anti-cancer medications should be offered to patients at equitable prices.  In a letter to the Committee Chairman Kevin Bacon, NPAF states, "SB194 would make it easier for patients to afford oral and anti-cancer medications, and would also provide patients across Ohio with a higher quality of life.  For these reasons, the National Patient Advocate Foundation is pleased to support this bill."

"I see firsthand the impact and struggle patients face when they are making decisions about whether or not they can afford their medications," stated Lisa Miller, a patient advocate at a large cancer center in central Ohio and NPAF Elite Council volunteer. "Imagine how hard it would be knowing you could be one or two treatments away from a cure and not have the ability to obtain the treatment because it is not covered or the out-of-pocket expense is astronomical."

Added Miller, "I am asking you on behalf of all constituents in Ohio to pass this bill and give patients the affordable option for oral anti-cancer medications.  It's the right thing to do."

SOURCE National Patient Advocate Foundation
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