Gov. Cooper Signs New Law Regulating Step Therapy, Putting Cancer Patients First

Enacting Legislation That Will Improve Access to Care

July 15, 2020

RALEIGH, NC – July 1, 2020 – Today, Gov. Cooper signed SB 361 into law officially enacting step therapy reform in the state. His signatures makes North Carolina the latest state alongside 20 others that have passed legislation to rehabiliate the “fail first” therapy process.

The below is a statement on behalf of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Managing Government Relations Director John Hoctor in response.

“We’re extremely grateful for the Legislature’s commitment to provide proper protections for cancer patients and survivors against the health risks associated with step therapy. At a time when many are experiencing delayed treatment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the step therapy reform language in SB 361 is an encouraging and crucial step in improving access to high-quality cancer care.

The legislation is a life-saver for North Carolianians by requiring a clear protocol for physicians to exempt patients from step therapy when appropriate. The bill will help eliminate delays to necessary treatment and make innovative treatments more attainable.

Access to care and continuity of care have always been critical for cancer patients and survivors, never more so than during a pandemic. As we continue to navigate the global health crisis and address its effects on cancer mortality rates, we look forward to keeping the momentum next session and working with lawmakers to remove additional hurdles for cancer patients in North Carolina and make adequate and timely care accessible for all.”


The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit

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