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Day Applauds House Passage of Cancer Medication Access Bill
HARRISBURG – Legislation that will give patients fighting cancer more affordable access to their medications passed the state House this week and is poised for a final vote in the Senate in the very near future, Rep. Gary Day (R-Berks/Lehigh) said today.

“With the advancement in medical technology, some patients battling cancer have been able to take advantage of oral medications, rather than intravenous chemotherapy, and that has been giving them better health outcomes,” said Day, a member of the House Health Committee. “The ability to take these types of medications has alleviated many of the obstacles in obtaining treatment, including trips to treatment centers and awful side effects, but one still remains – the cost of medications and insurance co-payments.”

House Bill 2471 would prohibit insurance policies from placing oral anticancer medications on a specialty tier or charging a co-insurance payment for the medication.

As of August 2014, 34 states have enacted oral chemotherapy access laws, including neighboring New Jersey and New York. Currently, IV-based anticancer drugs are generally covered under a health insurance’s medical benefit, whereas the anticancer oral medications are covered under a pharmacy plan and can require a greater co-insurance fee, sometimes up to 25 percent to 30 percent of the cost. One patient reported during a Capitol press conference this week that her medication costs $1,700 per month to fight her leukemia.

This legislation seeks to make these oral medications more affordable, and therefore, more accessible to patients, helping to give them better health outcomes. Since targeted cancer therapies, such as oral anticancer medications, were introduced in the early 1990s, the number of cancer survivors has more than doubled from about 6.8 million people to 14 million people today.

More than 80,000 Pennsylvanians are estimated to be diagnosed with cancer this year.

Representative Gary Day
187th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
717.705.2094 /
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