State Advocacy Update: Cancer Policy Advancements from Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Oregon

July 6, 2021

In addition to the Association for Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) advocacy at the federal level in Washington, DC, ASCO is also at work in state capitals advocating for improved patient access to high-quality, equitable cancer care at the state level. Recent cancer policy advancements at the state level include:

TACOS and ASCO Supported Step Therapy Bill Passes Arizona Legislature

On June 28, step therapy legislation (S.B. 1270) passed the Arizona House of Representatives and is now on its way to Governor Doug Ducey’s desk for consideration. The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and The Arizona Clinical Oncology Society (TACOS) had actively supported the bill in coalition with other patient, physician, and industry stakeholders on the ground. If signed, this bill will provide a step therapy protocol exceptions process for state regulated health plans and prevent delays in care by setting timely deadlines for health plans to respond to requests.

Pennsylvania Senate Banking and Insurance Committee Passes Utilization Management Bill

On June 23, S.B. 225 passed the Pennsylvania Senate Banking and Insurance Committee unanimously. This bill would reform step therapy by inserting an exceptions process that is clear to patients. It also states that step therapy should not be used if the medication is prescribed in an emergency. The bill seeks to prevent prior authorization delays by requiring the utilization review entity to notify a patient of his or her prior authorization determination within 48 hours of the initial submission for emergency services. ASCO and the Pennsylvania Society of Oncology and Hematology are both members of the coalition promoting this legislation.

Oregon Upper Payment Limit Language Stripped from Final Bill

On June 25, the Oregon House of Representatives passed a significantly modified version of S.B. 844, a bill that creates the Prescription Drug Advisory Board to study pharmaceutical distribution and payment systems in the state. ASCO and the Oregon Society of Medical Oncology (OSMO) had previously submitted comments on an earlier version of this bill that had language concerning upper payment limits on reimbursement to providers for high-cost drugs. During final negotiations, the upper payment limit language was removed, and the more favorable version of the bill is now headed to the Governor for signature.

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