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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December 6, 2018

ASCO submitted comments to the United States Pharmacopeia Convention (USP) concerning a proposed chapter on pharmaceutical compounding. ASCO is concerned that proposed chapter, General Chapter <797> Pharmaceutical Compounding– Sterile Preparations (USP <797>), as it is currently written, could create unnecessary confusion for providers, interfere with patient access to potentially life-saving drugs, and undermine FDA drug approval requirements.

November 26, 2018

Members of Congress recently introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 6836, the CLINICAL TREATMENT Act, which would require Medicaid to cover the routine costs of care for patients with life threatening conditions who are enrolled in clinical trials. ASCO worked closely with Members of Congress to shape the legislation to address this gap in coverage for clinical trials.

November 16, 2018

Effective January 1, 2019, Medicare is instituting new opioid prescribing policies that will impact Medicare Part D beneficiaries with a prescription drug benefit and their prescribers. Major changes are summarized below; for additional information please see the full Medicare Learning Network article.

November 12, 2018

In the latest ASCO in Action Podcast, ASCO CEO Dr. Clifford A. Hudis reviews the results of ASCO’s 2018 National Cancer Opinion survey, which examined the views held by Americans on a wide range of cancer-related issues.

November 9, 2018

Update: ASCO’s resolutions on step therapy, Medicare Part B drugs, a Competitive Acquisition Program (CAP), and clinical trial access were adopted or reaffirmed by the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates, as well as an ASCO-backed resolution on Qualified Clinical Data Registries (QCDRs).

November 5, 2018

Leaders from the ASCO State Affiliate Council met to discuss pressing issues in oncology, including drug pricing, Medicaid work requirements, changes to the Medicare physician fee schedule, and the role of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

October 30, 2018

Nearly four in 10 Americans believe cancer can be cured solely through alternative therapies, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)’s second annual National Cancer Opinion Survey. This is despite research showing that patients who use alternative therapies instead of standard cancer treatments have much higher mortality rates. The survey also found that amid the ongoing opioid crisis, nearly three in four Americans are opposed to limiting access to opioids for people with cancer, and many cancer patients report difficulty obtaining these medications. In addition, just as many Americans say they are worried about the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis as about dying of cancer, with caregivers and rural Americans bearing the weight of cancer’s financial and access challenges. The National Cancer Opinion Survey is a large, nationally representative survey conducted online by The Harris Poll.

October 22, 2018

A bipartisan group of more than 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma urging the Agency to review and improve prior authorization practices under Medicare Advantage (MA). The letter, led by Rep. Ami Bera, MD (CA-7), and Rep. Phil Roe, MD (TN-1), cites concerns that MA beneficiaries may be encountering barriers to care due to “onerous and often unnecessary prior authorization requirements.”

October 16, 2018

President Trump recently signed a pair of bills into law aimed at increasing transparency with regard to drug prices in the United States. The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act (S. 2554) and the Know the Lowest Price Act (S. 2553) prohibit so-called "gag clauses," which prevent pharmacists from telling customers if they could save money by buying prescription drugs out-of-pocket rather than using their health insurance. S. 2554 applies to private health plans, while S. 2553 targets Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans.

October 9, 2018

In the latest ASCO in Action Podcast, Dr. Ray Page, DO, PhD, FACOI joins ASCO CEO Dr. Clifford A. Hudis to discuss the impact that Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) are having on cancer care delivery and ASCO’s recent position statement on PBMs.

September 18, 2018

In the latest ASCO in Action Podcast, Manali Patel, MD, MPH, joined ASCO CEO Dr. Clifford A. Hudis to discuss ASCO’s position statement on Medicaid work requirements, which addresses state waivers submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that, if approved, would make Medicaid eligibility, continued coverage, cost-sharing, and other program benefits dependent on a beneficiary’s work status. 

September 13, 2018

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today issued a set of recommendations for overcoming financial barriers to patient participation in cancer clinical trials. ASCO’s policy statement, “Addressing Financial Barriers to Patient Participation in Clinical Trials,” stresses the importance of increasing participation in clinical research, especially for patients from particular ethnic/racial, geographic, age, socioeconomic, and other underserved demographic subgroups.

August 30, 2018

In a new position statement, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) warns that some of the practices of pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) companies use could hinder patient access to timely, high-quality cancer care. ASCO describes a range of PBM practices that, while they may be intended to help control costs in cancer care, might compromise physicians’ ability to provide the right treatment at the right time for people with cancer.

August 8, 2018

ASCO strongly opposes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) decision to allow Medicare Advantage plans to employ step therapy across physician-administered and self-administered drugs under Medicare Part B and Part D.

July 13, 2018

ASCO strongly opposes provisions in the 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) proposed rule that could significantly cut cancer care resources that are needed to provide high-quality care to individuals with cancer

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