TO SENATE CO-SPONSORS APPLAUDING INTRODUCTION
The Honorable Olympia
Dear Senators Snowe, Rockefeller, Feinstein and Smith:
The undersigned organizations representing cancer patient advocacy, provider and research organizations strongly support your efforts to achieve Medicare coverage for oral anti-cancer drugs through the Access to Cancer Therapies Act, S. 913. While we all recognize the need for comprehensive prescription drug coverage for seniors, S. 913 represents an important first step toward a broader benefit and addresses an immediate need for beneficiaries with cancer.
Most anti-cancer drugs are currently reimbursed by Medicare because they are administered through injection by a health care provider and covered as a benefit under Part B. As anti-cancer drug therapy is increasingly delivered in oral form, however, life-extending medications will not be covered by the program. Within recent weeks a new targeted therapy available only as an oral drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration to great acclaim from the scientific and popular press, but it is not accessible for Medicare beneficiaries even though it is much more effective and much less toxic than current treatments.
S.913 would not only
address that shortcoming as more new drug therapies are approved as oral
agents, but would also cover widely used oral hormonal drugs for control
of breast and prostate cancer. This relief for seniors with cancer is
Limits on Medicare
coverage should not be allowed to influence treatment decisions for beneficiaries
facing life-threatening cancer. If enacted, S. 913 will help to ensure
that such decisions are made on the basis of good science and medicine
and the welfare of the patient, and not on considerations of cost. Your
leadership as original co-sponsors of this important legislation is much
appreciated by people with cancer, their families and their caregivers.
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