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Higgins urges support for oral chemotherapy parity legislation on House Floor

by jmaloni

Submitted

Tue, Nov 19th 2013 05:00 pm

Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, spoke from the Floor of the House of Representatives to advocate for orally administered chemotherapy drugs to be covered by insurance companies at an equal cost to more traditional intravenous chemotherapy drugs.

Higgins noted, in part, "(Oral chemotherapy) is also driving some of the most exciting research in fighting cancer. Thirty-five percent in the oncology pipeline are oral chemo drugs."

Higgins has introduced H.R. 1801, the Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act, which currently has 64 bipartisan cosponsors. This issue has already received attention at the state level (21 states - including New York - and the District of Columbia, have already passed legislation requiring oral chemotherapy parity).

The text of Higgins' speech is below:

"Mr. Speaker,

"Orally administered anti-cancer drugs are becoming the standard care for certain types of cancer, as a promising alternative to traditional chemotherapy, which is administered through the vein.

"It is also driving some of the most exciting research in fighting cancer. Thirty-five percent in the oncology pipeline are oral chemo drugs.

"Unfortunately, insurance policies have not kept up with the science. Typically IV chemotherapy is covered as a medical benefit while oral chemotherapy is covered under the prescription drug component. This creates a disparity in coverage and a financial disincentive to choose oral chemotherapy.

"Cancer patients should choose a course of treatment based on what they and their doctor believe will work best.

"That's why I've introduced the Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act. It would require that insurance plans provide coverage for oral chemotherapy at a cost no less favorable than traditional chemotherapy.

"My bill has 64 bipartisan cosponsors. I urge my colleagues to join us to support the development of these promising treatments and to patients who need them."

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