Cancer Advocates Express Disappointment with Utah Lawmakers Over Failure to Act on Prescription Drug Costs

Proposed legislation could have saved cancer patients money on prescription medications

February 28, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – FEBRUARY 28, 2023 – On behalf of cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers in Utah, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is expressing disappointment with members of the House Business and Labor Committee who failed to pass SB184, Prescription Cost Amendments, today. The proposed law, co-sponsored by Sen. Curtis Bramble and Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, would have addressed the high cost of prescription drugs in Utah, potentially saving cancer patients and people with chronic conditions money.

Cancer patients and many Utahns with chronic conditions face hardship when faced with medical bills, including prescription drug costs. This is especially true for newer drugs – including cancer drugs – that do not yet have a generic equivalent. To help temper high prescription costs, many of these individuals receive copay assistance offered through manufacturer programs and charitable patient assistance programs.

Under the current system, insurance companies allow an enrollee to use copay assistance, however, the amount of the support does not count toward the enrollee’s out-of-pocket cost obligations. As a result, patients are often left with significant and surprise costs.

If enacted, SB184 would have helped Utahns afford critical treatments by ensuring all payments – made by or on behalf of patients – are counted toward the patients’ deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums

“This law would have gone a long way towards helping Utahns who have been or will be diagnosed with cancer or other chronic conditions,” said Brook Carlisle, ACS CAN Government Relations Director. “Our hope was lawmakers would’ve prioritized and focused on the needs of patients. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. As a result, patients in desperate need of help will continue to face a future of uncertainty when it comes to affording life-saving treatments.”

While our volunteers are disheartened with today’s decision by a select number of lawmakers, ACS CAN will always put the needs of cancer patients first. We urge lawmakers to do the same going forward.

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