ASCO in ActionASCO in Action regularly provides the latest news and analysis related to cancer policy news; see the following online articles. These updates provide snapshots of ASCO’s ongoing advocacy efforts, as well as opportunities for ASCO members and guests to take action on critical issues affecting the cancer community.

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July 20, 2017

On July 19, the House Appropriations Committee voted to advance legislation to provide a $1.1 billion increase to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Given the funding environment on Capitol Hill, it’s unlikely the appropriations bill passed by the Committee will be signed into law-as is. 

July 19, 2017

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today issued a position statement aimed at contributing to the national dialogue on rising cancer drug prices. The statement, which asserts that any solutions must also preserve patients' access to care and foster innovation, analyzes a wide array of options and recommends that a panel of stakeholders be established to determine which proposals will be effective and develop a uniform approach for assessing the value of drugs.  

July 17, 2017

On July 17, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved neratinib (NERLYNX, Puma Biotechnology, Inc.) for the extended adjuvant treatment of adult patients with early stage HER2-overexpressed/amplified breast cancer, to follow adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy.

July 14, 2017

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) remains opposed to the revised Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). Despite the changes to the legislation, released by the Senate yesterday, the bill runs counter to ASCO’s core mission, which is to ensure that patients with cancer have meaningful access to high-quality care. Moreover, it fails to meet with ASCO’s guiding principles for health reform by cutting Medicaid and eroding critical patient protections.

July 14, 2017

On July 13, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its proposed rule for 2018 Medicare physician reimbursement. CMS estimates that in calendar year 2018 reimbursement for the hematology/oncology specialty is set to remain the same, though the actual impact on individual physician practices will depend on the mix of services provided.

July 13, 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Reauthorization Act, which governs FDA’s authority to collect user fees from the industry it regulates in order to fund core FDA programs. 

July 12, 2017

On July 11, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved blinatumomab (BLINCYTO®, Amgen Inc.) for the treatment of relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in adults and children.  

July 11, 2017

The FDA recently announced it will undertake a new Medical Innovation Development Plan to facilitate the development of innovative drugs and lower health care costs.

July 11, 2017

ASCO submitted a comment letter to FDA about proposed modifications to the “FDA Blueprint for Prescriber Education for Extended-Release and Long-Acting Opioids,” which outlines optional training for health care providers who prescribe Extended Release (ER) and Long-Acting (LA) opioids.

July 11, 2017

ASCO and Friends of Cancer Research (Friends) held a meeting on June 30 with key stakeholders across the cancer research community to identify concrete approaches to broaden eligibility criteria for cancer clinical trials.

July 11, 2017

In an effort to help the oncology community understand the specific provisions of healthcare reform legislation, ASCO has developed a side-by-side comparison of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the two bills currently moving through Congress that aim to repeal and at least partly replace the law. ASCO filtered its comparison through the lens of the society’s principles for healthcare reform.

July 7, 2017

On July 7, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved L-glutamine oral powder (Endari™, Emmaus Medical, Inc.) for oral administration to reduce the acute complications of sickle cell disease in adult and pediatric patients 5 years and older.

July 5, 2017

A new article in the Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP) studies the impact of communication on care at the end of life. The findings show that completing a values assessment and partaking in advanced care planning can lead to advance directives and less aggressive care at the end of life.

July 5, 2017

On June 29, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted marketing approval to the PraxisTM Extended RAS Panel (Illumina, Inc.), a next generation sequencing (NGS) test to detect certain genetic mutations in RAS genes in tumor samples of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). The test is used to aid in the identification of patients who may be eligible for treatment with panitumumab (VECTIBIX®, Amgen, Inc.). 

July 3, 2017

The next installment of ASCO’s webinar series on the Quality Payment Program (QPP) will take place Monday, July 10 at 4:00 p.m. ET. The webinar, entitled Quality Payment Program: Optimizing your MIPS Score, will help participants optimize their Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) score in order to receive the full reimbursement they are entitled to for services provided under Medicare Part B.