Cancer Patients, Survivors Rally Support for Reduced Out-of-Pocket Drug Costs

Advocates Urge Lawmakers to Help Lower Prescription Drugs Costs for Patients in Utah

February 2, 2024

Advocates Rally to Lower Out-of-Pocket Drug CostsSALT LAKE CITY, UTAH– February 2, 2024 –Dozens of cancer survivors, patients, providers, and caregivers rallied at the state capitol Friday, asking lawmakers to support a bill to reduce out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for Utahns. SB 152, sponsored by Rep. Curtis Bramble, was the focus of ‘Utah Cancer Action Day,’ an event hosted annually by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

People living with complex, chronic illnesses often rely on copay assistance programs to help pay for their medications. These programs are real money from nonprofit organizations and manufacturers that help patients afford their treatments. More health insurance companies are using “copay accumulator adjustment programs” which exclude copay assistance payments from counting toward a patient’s annual deductible or out-of-pocket maximum. Essentially, out-of-pocket costs are paid twice—first from copay assistance and then from patients. If enacted, SB 152 would ensure all payments made by or on behalf of patients are counted toward their deductible and out-of-pocket maximum.

To date, 19 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have protected patients by passing legislation that bans or restricts the use of copay accumulators. 

“Copay accumulator programs are harming Utahns by undermining their access to life-saving drugs,” said Brook Carlisle, ACS CAN Utah Government Relations Director. “Our goal is to ease a patient’s burden of adhering to a treatment plan. No person suffering from a chronic illness should have to choose between making ends meet and paying for their medicine. We urge lawmakers to protect Utahns and support the passage of this bill.”

In a 2022 survey conducted by the American Cancer Society, 51% of people with cancer and survivors reported carrying medical debt from their cancer-related treatment. According to projections, more than 13,500 Utahns are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year.


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Alex Wiles
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Las Vegas, Nevada