Governor Vetoes Bill to Provide Patients Better Access to Affordable Cancer Treatment
SACRAMENTO – Legislation introduced to help cancer patients afford pill-form chemotherapy treatments has been vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown.
Assembly Bill 1000, The Access to Cancer Treatment Act, was sent to Governor Brown in August after receiving bi-partisan approval from both houses of the state Legislature. The bill was supported by dozens of cancer advocacy groups including Susan G. Komen and the American Cancer Society.
Perea bill seeks parity on cancer drug costs
Cancer patients who resist spending long hours undergoing intravenous chemotherapy treatments at infusion centers may be forking over as much as $10,000 each month in California for chemo in pill form.
Intravenous chemotherapy at an infusion center is treated like an office visit, and the patient is responsible only for the co-pay. But oral chemotherapy drugs fall under the designation of a prescription, which under most health plans limits patients to a discount. For a drug like Xeloda, which is used in the treatment of breast and colorectal cancers, the cost for a one-month prescription is $4,000. Considering that many cancer patients are on more than one type of medication, even discounted prescriptions could eventually land them in the poorhouse.
Support for AB 1000
(Sacramento) - Cancer patients, their advocates and a bipartisan group of legislators attended a press conference in the State Capitol to urge Governor Jerry Brown to sign a bill that would save cancer patients thousands of dollars on chemotherapy treatments. Assembly Bill 1000, The Access to Cancer Treatment Act, was introduced by Assemblymember Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno) and would increase access to life saving chemotherapy by requiring health plans and insurers to cover pill-form chemo at the same affordable cost as intravenous chemo treatments. "Taking your chemo pill at home or at work is a convenient and effective treatment option that should be covered by health insurance plans at a fair price," Assemblymember Perea said. Here's more in this Assembly Access video.
Key Committee OKs Assemblymember Perea's Oral Chemo Bill
(Sacramento) - If approved by the full Senate and signed by the Governor AB 1000 will require insurers to cover oral chemotherapy medication. "It's a big day for cancer patients in California," said Assemblymember Perea. "We've been working on this since the beginning of last year, and it's been a hard fight." KCBS Radio's Bob Butler interviewed Assemblymember Perea about AB 1000 for this news report. (:51)
Health Committee Passes Perea Bill to Provide Access to Cancer Treatments
(Sacramento) – Legislation from Assemblymember Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno), Assembly Bill 1000 – the Access to Cancer Treatment Act, has been approved by the Assembly Health Committee. Assemblymember Perea says he introduced AB 1000 to insure cancer patients have access to the most appropriate and effective cancer treatments. "Patients who go in for IV chemotherapy pay a co-payment for each visit, but don't have to pay a separate fee for the IV drug," Assemblymember Perea said. "On the other hand, many who need anticancer medication in pill form pay as much as $8,000 a month out-of-pocket." The Access to Cancer Treatment Act would increase access to oral chemotherapeutic agents by requiring health insurance plans coverage of oral and IV cancer treatments. Here's more in this Assembly Web Report.
Cancer drug cost equity sought by bill
Out-of-pocket costs for cancer drugs can vary dramatically depending on whether the medications are administered through pill form or intravenous infusion.
Newer oral drugs, which can be taken at home and often have fewer side effects than older drugs, can cost patients thousands of dollars a month, while receiving chemotherapy through an IV in an infusion center typically amounts to a standard co-payment for an office visit.