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Smith leading bill to help costs for cancer patients

U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn) and Jerry Moran (R-Kans.) on Wednesday introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure cancer patients who receive oral medications are not hit with thousands of dollars in unaffordable out-of-pocket costs that health plans routinely cover for patients receiving traditional IV chemotherapy treatments.

Their Cancer Drug Parity Act responds to the recent improvements in cancer drugs delivered orally by preventing insurers from charging cancer patients higher copayments for those medications than they charge those receiving their chemotherapy medicine intravenously. Almost 2 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year. In 2017, one in eight patients who were prescribed oral cancer drugs had copayments totaling more than $2,000.

Among the co-sponsors of the legislation is Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

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