We have a chance to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients

Written by, Julie McMahon
Director of Mission at Komen Columbus

pills and bottleMore than a quarter of the cancer drugs in the research pipeline today are intended as oral drugs. Unfortunately, insurance practices have not kept up with advancements in science. Insurance companies typically cover intravenous administered therapies as a medical benefit, under which most patients only pay a co-payment for each office visit. But as the law stands, insurance companies are allowed to treat oral therapies as a prescription drug benefit, which tend to have higher out-of-pocket co-payments.

Some cancer patients in Ohio face thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs for their orally-administered cancer drugs. That is significantly higher than their fellow survivors who receive traditional cancer drugs administered intravenously. This extra financial burden has forced many to make incredibly difficult choices about their treatments and their budgets.

The Cancer Treatment Modernization bill (SB99), currently before the Ohio Legislature, would fix this discrepancy by requiring health insurance plans to provide equal coverage for oral cancer therapies and intravenous therapies.

The Ohio Affiliates of Susan G. Komen are fighting to ensure all women in our state have access to high-quality care. Treatment decisions should be made between patient and doctor based on what is best for the patient – not the price tag.

If you have been affected by this disparity, please contact Komen Columbus at outreach@komencolumbus.org.

(Oral chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer include: Abitrexate, Methotrexate, Arimidex, Anastrozole, Clafen, Cyclophosphamide, Femara, Letrozole, Lapatinib Oral, Megace, Megestrol Acetate, Nolvadex, Tamoxifen Citrate, Tykerb Oral, Xeloda, Capecitabine).

How can you help? 

You can show your support for this critical bill by urging the Ohio Legislature to pass this important health care.

1. Send a letter to the editor to your local newspaper. Download the letter attached and personalize as you see fit. If you have been affected by this issue, please feel free to include your own personal story.

2. Contact your representatives in the Ohio Legislature. Write, call and e-mail! Find your legislature here. Tell your legislators that it is important to you that they do the right thing!