National Patient Advocate Foundation Praises Signing of Virginia Oral Chemotherapy Coverage Parity Legislation into Law

Nation's Leading Patient Advocacy Organization Commends Virginia Legislature, Governor McDonnell for Enacting Law to Improve Virginia Patients' Access to Oral Chemotherapy Treatment

HAMPTON, Va., April 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) today applauded the Virginia General Assembly and Governor Bob McDonnell for approving and signing into law legislation (Senate Bill 450 and House Bill 1273) that will help Virginia's insured cancer patients access their physician-prescribed chemotherapy treatment regimens of choice. The legislation, which will create parity in insurance coverage for orally administered chemotherapy, was signed into law today at a signing ceremony in Richmond attended by bill supporters, members of the cancer community and patient advocates, including NPAF representatives.

"We are pleased to see this important legislation signed into law today, knowing that it has the potential to help thousands of Virginia's cancer patients who have been struggling to access the prescribed oral chemotherapy medications that they prefer," said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, founder and CEO of the Virginia-based Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) and Washington, D.C.-based National Patient Advocate Foundation. "Thanks to Virginia's General Assembly, our state's physicians and cancer patients will be better able to make treatment decisions based on the best treatment protocol for each individual's particular case."

Although oral chemotherapy treatments are increasingly available for treating various types of cancer and patients often prefer it to intravenous (IV) chemotherapy, insurance coverage can be a hindrance to patients' access to these treatments. Because health insurance plans often cover oral chemotherapy drugs under prescription drug coverage, which is generally not as comprehensive or financially feasible as coverage for IV drugs, this disparity in coverage can leave many cancer patients with no choice but to sit for hours at a time in a cancer care facility while they undergo physically difficult IV treatments.

With the enactment of Senate Bill 450 and House Bill 1273, Virginia's group and individual health insurance plans will be required to cover oral chemotherapy drugs on terms no less favorable than coverage provided for IV chemotherapy, thus providing greater opportunity for cancer patients to secure these medications taken at home.  

"We are pleased that Virginia's lawmakers have come together in a bipartisan manner to provide equal opportunity for our state's patients who are seeking oral and IV chemotherapy treatments," noted Larry Lanier, Executive Vice President of State Government Affairs for NPAF. "By enacting this measure, insured Virginians fighting cancer will be able access the chemotherapy treatment of their choice without cost being an unrealistic barrier."

SOURCE National Patient Advocate Foundation