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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June 7, 2019

ASCO is seeking 10 oncology practices in urban centers in the U.S. with high proportions of African-American patients with breast cancer in 11 specific metropolitan areas to participate in its Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®), QOPI® Certification, and Quality Training Program (QTP) offerings, with training and funding support provided.

June 5, 2019

As part of the collaboration that lead to the recent CDC clarification on its guideline on prescribing opioids to manage pain from certain conditions, leadership from the organizations came together to write an op-ed for ASCO Connection. That commentary from ASCO CEO Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO; NCCN CEO Robert W. Carlson, MD; and ASH President Roy Silverstein, MD, fully outlines the groups’ concerns about how efforts to address the opioid crisis in the United States could inadvertently create a new crisis through the misguided application of well-intentioned clinical guidelines.

June 4, 2019

The deadline for submitting applications for the Quality Training Program summer session at ASCO headquarters in Alexandria, Va., has been extended to Monday, June 10 at 11:59 p.m. (ET).

June 1, 2019

In an effort to advance cancer data sharing and improve the quality and coordination of patient care, three of the nation’s leading health and technology organizations have established a core set of data elements and recommended technical specifications (the Minimal Common Oncology Data Elements, or “mCODE”) that are essential for capturing and reporting the characteristics, treatments, and outcomes of every cancer patient and should be contained in each patient’s electronic health record (EHR). The mCODE™ initiative, a collaboration between ASCO®, its wholly owned nonprofit subsidiary CancerLinQ LLC, the MITRE Corporation, and the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Foundation (Alliance Foundation), released the initial set of common cancer data standards and specifications today at ASCO’s 2019 Annual Meeting in Chicago and published them online at mCODEinitiative.org.

May 30, 2019

On May 29, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved the addition of overall survival data in labeling for gilteritinib (XOSPATA®, Astellas Pharma US, Inc.), indicated for adult patients who have relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with a FLT3 mutation as detected by an FDA-approved test.

May 29, 2019

On May 28, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved lenalidomide (REVLIMID®, Celgene Corp.) in combination with a rituximab product for previously treated follicular lymphoma (FL) and previously treated marginal zone lymphoma (MZL).

May 29, 2019

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today announced the Health Policy Leadership Development Program Fellows for the 2019-2020 class. Wendy Allen-Rhoades, MD, of Baylor College of Medicine, and Laura LaNiel Tenner, MD, MPH, of The Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, will spend the next year developing leadership skills and healthcare policy expertise. During their fellowship, Dr. Allen-Rhoades and Dr. Tenner will participate in ASCO efforts to shape cancer-related policies that directly affect individuals with cancer and the oncology practice environment.

May 24, 2019

On May 24, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved alpelisib (PIQRAY®, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation) in combination with fulvestrant for postmenopausal women, and men, with hormone receptor (HR)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative, PIK3CA-mutated, advanced or metastatic breast cancer as detected by an FDA-approved test following progression on or after an endocrine-based regimen. 

May 24, 2019

On May 24, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved ruxolitinib (JAKAFI®, Incyte Corporation) for steroid-refractory acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in adult and pediatric patients 12 years and older.

May 23, 2019

CancerLinQ LLC hosted a webinar on May 16, that showed new tools within the CancerLinQ® platform that allow for automated quality reporting to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and ASCO’s QOPI Certification Program.

May 23, 2019

On May 17, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the Access to Infertility Treatment and Care Act (HR 2803 and S 1461), which ASCO has endorsed.

May 22, 2019

Positive findings from fully enrolled cohorts in non-small cell lung cancer and metastatic breast cancer from ASCO's Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry (TAPUR™) Study will be presented in poster sessions at the 2019 ASCO® Annual Meeting. In addition, the study is being expanded to include patients with active brain metastases and three new drug therapies. Pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim has also joined the study and, later this year, will provide afatinib (Gilotrif®) to participants who enroll in a tissue-agnostic cohort of patients with an NRG1 gene fusion. That same month, the TAPUR Study also will add two new drugs from existing pharmaceutical company collaborators: abemaciclib (Verzenio®, Eli Lilly and Company) and talazoparib (Talzenna®, Pfizer).

May 22, 2019

On May 16, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule on drug coverage policies. After receiving feedback from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and other stakeholders, CMS did not finalize a proposal that would have impeded access to drugs within Medicare Part D’s Six Protected Classes. The agency did, however, finalize a proposal to allow the use of step therapy for protected class prescription drugs under Medicare Advantage and Part B—despite stakeholder concerns.

May 22, 2019

ASCO members are encouraged to use the ACT Network to tell their representatives in Congress to support the CLINICAL TREATMENT Act and protect patient access to clinical trials.

May 22, 2019

ASCO submitted comments to a U.S. House Energy & Commerce health subcommittee hearing entitled, “Improving Drug Pricing Transparency and Lowering Prices for American Consumers." The hearing focused on several bills aimed at increasing transparency around drug prices and lowering out-of-pocket costs for patients. ASCO’s comments offer the oncology community’s perspective on several of the bills discussed during the hearing and focus on improving access to affordable cancer care.

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