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 23, 2019

As part of ASCO’s State of Cancer Care in America™ initiative, the Journal of Oncology Practice published an infographic about opioids and cancer pain, which highlights the specific needs of patients with cancer and some of the hurdles they face in trying to access prescribed opioids to manage cancer-related pain.

April 22, 2019

Earlier this month, ASCO’s Quality Training Program held its first sessions in Romania and Greece, with a local practice in each location hosting the program’s one-day workshop.

April 12, 2019

ASCO is seeking to team with an oncology practice group in Brazil to host a new workshop that would provide an overview of the Society’s Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) and QOPI® Certification Program. Mission Endowment funding from Conquer Cancer, The ASCO Foundation, would cover the majority of the expenses for the course.

April 12, 2019

The Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to erdafitinib (BALVERSA, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies) for patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma, with susceptible FGFR3 or FGFR2 genetic alterations, that has progressed during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy, including within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant platinum-containing chemotherapy.
 

April 12, 2019

ASCO has submitted written testimony to the Texas House Committee on Insurance supporting legislation that requires health benefit plans to provide coverage for fertility preservation services to patients who will receive a medically necessary treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation. 

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

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.

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