A recent American Medical Association (AMA) report on opioids highlights how provider mandates—on training, prior authorizations—have not had a significant impact on curtailing the opioid epidemic. According to the Opioid Task Force 2019 Progress Report, prescription opioid-related mortality may be leveling off, however deaths from heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogs are at an all-time high. Instead, the report calls on policymakers to address the opioid epidemic with policies to promote evidence-based treatment.
ASCO 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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ASCO is seeking 10 oncology practices in rural or urban centers in the U.S. that primarily treat underserved populations to participate in its Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) and Quality Training Program (QTP) offerings for a three-year period, with training and funding support provided.
ASCO submitted comments to the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees on draft legislation to address rising out-of-pocket costs in the Medicare Part D program. The draft legislation proposes capping out-of-pocket costs for Part D beneficiaries. The society supports such caps and suggests other ways to reduce out-of-pocket costs for Part D beneficiaries with cancer including lower patient cost sharing requirements for self-administered cancer treatments and addressing unnecessary costs caused by utilization management policies.
On June 17, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to pembrolizumab (KEYTRUDA®, Merck) for patients with metastatic small cell lung cancer (SCLC) with disease progression on or after platinum-based chemotherapy and at least one other prior line of therapy.
The Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Round 2 is now open for registration (as of June 17), and data abstraction will open on July 1.
ASCO joined more than 120 other organizations in signing on to a letter urging Congress to introduce several improvements to ensure the continued success of efforts to implement the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.
The American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates (HOD) successfully passed three resolutions that were led by the ASCO delegation during their recent Annual Meeting, as well as a resolution calling on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to ensure additional patient protections for step therapy in Medicare Advantage this plan year. The HOD also reaffirmed existing policy stating that physicians who have proven adherence to high quality clinical pathways physicians should be exempt from prior authorization requirements.
ASCO submitted comments to Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee leadership regarding draft legislation to address rising out-of-pocket costs for patients in the United States. ASCO’s comments focus on improving patient access to cancer care by reducing prescription drug prices, improving transparency around pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) practices, and improving public health and the exchange of health information.
ASCO’s Center for Research and Analytics (CENTRA) is now accepting research applications from ASCO members who wish to conduct surveys of ASCO members for research purposes.
On June 10, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved pembrolizumab (KEYTRUDA®, Merck) for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or unresectable recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).
Americas Oncologia of Rio de Janeiro and Hospital Paulistano of São Paolo have become the fourth and fifth practices, respectively, in Brazil to receive Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Certification through QOPI® Certification Program, LLC.
On June 10, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to polatuzumab vedotin-piiq (POLIVY™, Genentech, Inc.), a CD79b-directed antibody-drug conjugate indicated in combination with bendamustine and a rituximab product for adult patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), not otherwise specified, after at least two prior therapies.
A new study in the Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP) finds that while primary care physicians (PCPs) are often involved in cancer survivorship care, many do not feel adequately prepared for key components of it.
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.
On June 5, Members of Congress introduced new, bipartisan legislation that would streamline and standardize prior authorization requirements in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. The bill, entitled “Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2019,” (H.R. 3107) would improve the prior authorization process in MA plans by requiring “real time” authorizations for routinely approved services. The bill was introduced by Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Ami Bera (D-CA). ASCO endorsed the legislation and applauds Representatives Reps.