DeLissio: All Pennsylvanians deserve access to oral chemotherapy treatments

House Bill 60 would deliver it

HARRISBURG, July 1 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., said at a news conference Tuesday that Pennsylvanians should have equal access to oral chemotherapy drugs and has supported H.B. 60 over the six years that she has been in office.

DeLissio said that she is thrilled that the bill has finally made it to the governor's desk and looks forward to this legislation being signed into law shortly.

Orally administered anti-cancer medications are typically covered under a health plan's pharmacy benefit and classified in the highest tier of a health plan’s cost-sharing system, requiring patients to pay a percentage of the total cost of the drug, generally between 25 and 30 percent.

House Bill 60 would prohibit insurance policies from placing oral anti-cancer medications on a specialty tier or charging co-insurance payments that are more than would have been charged for IV therapy or injectables, helping more patients afford a more convenient form of cancer treatment. As of August 2014, 34 states have enacted oral chemotherapy access laws.

“It cannot be overstated just how important these drugs are in saving lives,” DeLissio said. “Oral anti-cancer medications have become incredibly effective in fighting cancer, and no one should go without that powerful tool in their fight because they can’t afford it. Citizens should not have to make difficult choices about affording food and rent or mortgage payments and paying staggering co-pays to be treated with oral cancer drugs. These drugs also ensure that many citizens who would need to drive for hours for IV therapy may now have a choice for oral medication, if that is medically indicated.”

The legislation is supported by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Pennsylvania Cancer Treatment Fairness Coalition.