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

ASCO submitted testimony to the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging them to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, and Food and Drug Administration.

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 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 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.

March 15, 2019

Members of Congress recently introduced oral parity legislation to ensure patients have access to the highest-quality cancer treatment.

March 14, 2019

On April 10, ASCO will convene some of the nation’s top physicians, advocates and rural health experts for a discussion on the challenges facing Americans living with cancer in rural areas and promising opportunities to improve outcomes.

March 12, 2019

"We strongly oppose the White House budget proposal for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, which would stall our nation’s progress against cancer and impede access to needed care for the millions of Americans dealing with cancer. The proposal would make drastic, unprecedented cuts to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—which houses the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)." 

February 25, 2019

On February 25, 2019, the Journal of Oncology Practice published an article on precision medicine as part of the State of Cancer Care in America series, which highlights existing challenges and offers three distinct examples of oncology practices successfully implementing precision medicine programs.

February 19, 2019

Urge Congress to support the CLINICAL TREATMENT Act, which would guarantee coverage of the routine care costs of clinical trial participation for Medicaid enrollees with a life-threatening condition.

February 5, 2019

On January 31, ASCO joined more than 60 organizations in requesting the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to reverse its recent decision to limit coverage for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). The organizations expressed concern that the decision will make it harder for patients to access medically necessary and relevant clinical tests, reducing the quality of their cancer treatment and care.

February 5, 2019

In a comment letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), ASCO urged the agency to protect patient access to necessary cancer care under Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare Part D. The comments were submitted in response to proposed changes to MA and Part D aimed at lowering drug prices.

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