Committee Approves Ward’s New Protections for Stage IV Cancer Patients

HARRISBURG – The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee approved a bill today that would ensure Stage IV metastatic cancer patients have access to medications and treatments prescribed by their doctor, according to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Judy Ward (R-30).

In current practice, insurance companies may limit coverage for prescriptions or require patients to try other insurance-mandated treatments before covering advanced treatments prescribed by a doctor.

Senate Bill 66 – the Fair Access to Cancer Treatment Act – would prohibit insurance companies from excluding or limiting drugs for patients if the drugs are FDA approved and consistent with best practices for Stage IV metastatic cancer treatment.

“The health care needs of Stage IV cancer patients are extremely urgent, and any delay in treatment could have terrible consequences,” Ward said. “Critical health care decisions should be made solely between the doctor and the patient. Ensuring these vulnerable patients can access prescribed treatments as quickly as possible will make a world of difference for patients.”

Eight other states have already enacted similar laws to protect cancer patients.The bill is supported by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, International Cancer Advocacy Network, Prostate Health Education Network, Pennsylvania Prostate Cancer Coalition, Community Oncology Alliance, Pennsylvania Society of Oncology & Hematology, National Organization for Rare Disorders, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Pennsylvania Society of Gastroenterology, Susan G. Komen For the Cure Northeastern Pennsylvania, Malecare: Men Fighting Cancer Together, LUNGevity, and the Pennsylvania Medical Society.

Senate Bill 66 was sent to the full Senate for consideration.


CONTACT:  Cheryl Schriner (717) 787-5490

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