ASCO in Action

ASCO in Action provides the latest news and analysis related to critical policy issues affecting the cancer community, updates on the Association for Clinical Oncology’s ongoing advocacy efforts, and opportunities for members and others in the cancer care community to take action.

To sign up for advocacy alerts, log in to ASCO.org with your member or guest account, and visit the subscription center available under your account profile.

Tune in to the ASCO in Action podcast series for analysis and commentary on cancer policy and practice issues. The podcast is available through iTunes or Google Play.

July 7, 2020

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) announced an opportunity for current NCI-funded Principal Investigators whose postdoctoral fellows have temporarily lost stipend support from a non-profit funder because of the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for a funding supplement to cover the fellow’s salary and applicable facilities and administrative costs for the time and effort devoted to the NCI-funded grant.

July 7, 2020

The following is a message from the Director of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence, Dr. Richard Pazdur:

On July 7, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration approved an oral combination of decitabine and cedazuridine (INQOVI, Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) for adult patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) including the following:

July 7, 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently published the Open Payments Program Year 2019 data, along with newly submitted and updated payment records from previous program years. CMS published $10.03 billion in payments and ownership and investment interests to physicians and teaching hospitals, and this amount comprises 10.98 million total records attributable to 614,910 physicians and 1,196 teaching hospitals.

Payments are reported in three major reporting categories. The amounts reported in the three categories for the 2019 Program Year are:

July 6, 2020

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on June 23rd upheld a Trump administration policy requiring hospitals and health insurers to publish their negotiated rates for health services. The policy, which aims to increase transparency in U.S. healthcare system, is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2021.

July 6, 2020

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding the Medicare and Medicaid Programs, Basic Health Program, and Exchanges; Additional Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and Delay of Certain Reporting Requirements for the Skilled Nursing Facility Quality Reporting Program (CMS-5531-IFC) interim final rule.

July 2, 2020

On May 19, ASCO released the ASCO Special Report: A Guide to Cancer Care Delivery During the COVID-19 Pandemic, and it is now available in Arabic, Chinese (simplified), French, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, and Spanish (Latin America).

July 1, 2020

The following is a message from the Director of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence, Dr. Richard Pazdur:

On June 30, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration approved avelumab (BAVENCIO®, EMD Serono, Inc.) for maintenance treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (UC) that has not progressed with first-line platinum-containing chemotherapy.

June 30, 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced flexibilities for clinicians participating in the 2020 Quality Payment Program (QPP) Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) who have been impacted by the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). Affected clinicians may submit an Extreme & Uncontrollable Circumstances Application to reweight any MIPS performance categories or may apply for the MIPS Promoting Interoperability Performance Category Hardship Exception.

June 29, 2020

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently sent a letter to congressional leadership urging more action to address current drug shortages exacerbated by COVID-19 and to prevent future drug shortages. Specifically, ASCO encouraged Congress to take the following actions to help mitigate drug shortages:

June 29, 2020

The following is a message from the Director of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence, Dr. Richard Pazdur:

On June 29, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration approved pembrolizumab (KEYTRUDA, Merck & Co.) for the first-line treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) colorectal cancer.

June 29, 2020

The following is a message from the Director of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence, Dr. Richard Pazdur:

On June 29, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new fixed-dose combination of pertuzumab, trastuzumab, and hyaluronidase–zzxf (PHESGO®, Genentech, Inc.) for subcutaneous injection for the following indications: 

June 24, 2020

The following is a message from the Director of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence, Dr. Richard Pazdur:

On June 24, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration approved pembrolizumab (KEYTRUDA®, Merck & Co., Inc.) for patients with recurrent or metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) that is not curable by surgery or radiation.

June 23, 2020

On June 23, 2020, JCO: Oncology Practice published an article on rural cancer care as part of the State of Cancer Care in America series. "Closing the Rural Cancer Care Gap: Three Institutional Approaches," draws from the second event in the State of Cancer Care in America series and supporting literature to summarize the challenges to delivering high-quality care in rural communities, highlight institutional approaches to addressing these challenges, and update ASCO’s rural workforce data.

June 23, 2020

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) continues to advocate for federal and state legislative action to guarantee Medicaid coverage of routine care costs (like laboratory tests and physician visits) for clinical trial participants. Medicaid is the only major insurer that is not required to cover these costs, which means that patients with life-threatening conditions do not have access to the best – and sometimes only—treatment option for their condition.

June 22, 2020

The following is a message from the Director of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence, Dr. Richard Pazdur:

On June 22, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to selinexor (XPOVIO, Karyopharm Therapeutics) for adult patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), not otherwise specified, including DLBCL arising from follicular lymphoma, after at least 2 lines of systemic therapy.

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