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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April 11, 2019

On April 11, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved pembrolizumab (KEYTRUDA®, Merck Inc.) for the first-line treatment of patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who are not candidates for surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation or metastatic NSCLC. Patients’ tumors must have no EGFR or ALK genomic aberrations and express PD-L1 (Tumor Proportion Score [TPS] ≥1%) determined by an FDA-approved test.

April 11, 2019

ASCO submitted its position statement on the impact that Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) have on cancer care to a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing, “Drug Pricing in America: A Prescription for Change, Part III.” PBM representatives testified in-person during the hearing, which was held as part of Congress’ ongoing efforts to address rising prescription drug costs in the United States. In its submission, ASCO reiterated the society’s concerns about the negative effects of certain PBM practices on patients and the cancer care system.  

April 10, 2019

Today at the National Press Club, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) announced a new task force aimed at reducing disparities and improving outcomes for patients and survivors of cancer who live in rural communities. The new “Rural Cancer Care Task Force” will identify opportunities to close the rural cancer care gap and implement strategies to improve rural cancer care in the United States.

April 9, 2019

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Society of Hematology (ASH), and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN) are pleased to acknowledge receipt of a key clarification from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on prescribing opioids to manage pain from certain conditions. The clarification regarding CDC’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain—issued in a letter from the agency to ASCO, ASH, and NCCN—comes as a result of a collaborative effort by these organizations to clarify CDC’s opioid prescribing guideline in order to ensure safe and appropriate access for cancer patients, cancer survivors, and individuals with sickle cell disease.

April 9, 2019

ASCO recently submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in response to a proposed rule that would eliminate protection for manufacturer rebates on prescription drugs in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The society’s comments express a shared concern over rising prescription drug costs and urge HHS to implement policies that make rebate arrangements transparent, while ensuring that efforts to address the problem don’t inadvertently lead to higher out-of-pocket costs for people with cancer.

April 8, 2019

As part of its approach to reduce the burden of cancer faced by patients worldwide, ASCO is seeking host practices outside the U.S. for its one-day Quality Training Program (QTP) workshop. 

April 8, 2019

On April 3, participants in ASCO’s Leadership Development Program (LDP) went to Capitol Hill to speak with Members of Congress and their staff about issues critical to the cancer care community.

April 5, 2019

ASCO has endorsed the recently introduced Preventing Opportunities for Teen E-Cigarette and Tobacco Addiction (PROTECT) Act, which would authorize $100 million in funding each year for five years for a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initiative to address the alarming rise in use of e-cigarettes by adolescents.

April 5, 2019

This is the first year that Quality Payment Program performance information will be publicly reported, and many stakeholders asked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for additional time to review their data before it becomes available to the public. Therefore, CMS is offering a supplemental Physician Compare preview period. All eligible clinicians and groups should check their performance information by logging into the Quality Payment Program website.

April 4, 2019

Millions more Americans are surviving cancer and living healthy, productive lives. Cancer death rates are down about 25% since the early 1990s. Unfortunately, these gains have not been realized in all regions of the United States. In rural areas, particularly, patients with cancer face a worse outlook than those in other parts of the country. 

April 2, 2019

The results of a recently released survey conducted for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) raise serious concerns about the negative impact that utilization management practices, including prior authorization requirements, are having on patients with cancer and their physicians. The survey results reinforce ASCO’s position that payer-imposed utilization management strategies must provide people with cancer full access to the right treatment, at the right time, based on the scientific evidence on what constitutes high-quality care.

April 2, 2019

ASCO joined the Alliance for Childhood Cancer on Capitol Hill for the 8th Annual Childhood Cancer Action Day, where advocates met directly with Members of Congress and their staff about cancer policy priorities related to pediatric cancer.

During the Action Day, advocates urged Members of Congress to:

April 2, 2019

The number of electronic health record (EHR) systems joining with CancerLinQ to facilitate information sharing continues to grow. CancerLinQ LLC, a wholly owned nonprofit subsidiary of the ASCO, announced today that Varian’s ARIA® Oncology Information System (OIS) is the next Electronic Health Record (EHR) System to be certified by CancerLinQ® after meeting criteria for interoperability and data standardization. This collaboration aims to dismantle barriers to information sharing and streamline access to CancerLinQ for oncology practices using Varian ARIA® OIS. 

April 1, 2019

Today, ASCO is kicking off its Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 advocacy campaign in support of increased funding for federal cancer research. The launch of this year’s advocacy effort comes as Congress is beginning its work to craft FY 2020 appropriations bills. As part of the campaign, ASCO is urging Congress to provide $41.6 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – a $2.5 billion increase from FY 2019 – and $6.5 billion to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

April 1, 2019

The Reagan-Udall Foundation for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has added a new guide for companies regarding use of the Expanded Access Navigator. This guide is intended to provide small and emerging biopharmaceutical companies with assistance in understanding the procedures for expanded access, developing an expanded access policy for their company, and responding to requests for single-patient expanded access.

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