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Lawmakers Take Critical Step to Revolutionize Cancer Treatment in Florida, State’s Second Leading Cause of Death

Rep. Gonzalez Pittman Introduces Bill to Allow More Floridians to Access Routinely Recommended Testing That Allows Doctors to Personalize Health Care Treatments to Target Specific Cancer Growth

February 14, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, FL – February 14, 2023 – Today, Rep. Karen Gonzalez Pittman (R-Tampa) filed a bill (HB 805) that will allow more Floridians to receive biomarker testing – a routine step in accessing personalized medicine treatments that have become an increasingly important part of cancer care in recent years due to their significant impact in improving survivorship and quality of life.  

Progress in the fight against cancer has been in part due to advances in biomarker testing, which allows physicians to match patients with the most effective treatment for their specific cancer. Unfortunately, not all Floridians are benefiting from the latest advancements in biomarker testing, which can contribute to disparities in access to the most appropriate and effective treatments.  

“Today’s legislation creates a path forward to ensure more Floridians receive the right treatment at the right time,” shared Rep. Gonzalez Pittman who sponsored the bill. “By aligning coverage for biomarker testing with the latest science, we can help increase access to precision medicine that can lead to better health outcomes, improved quality of life and potentially reduce costs by allowing some Floridians to bypass costly and ineffective treatments, and instead quickly identify which therapies will be most effective for their individual disease.”    

Biomarker testing plays a vital role in providing timely access to innovative and appropriate therapies, leading to higher chances of survivorship against cancer. For example, patients with certain lung cancer types who received biomarker testing and targeted therapy had a 31% reduction in mortality.  

Committed to improving cancer outcomes in the state, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in Florida supports the measure and is working with cancer survivors and providers across the state to urge for its passage.  

“The advances in cancer treatment that have come from being able to tailor approaches to a person’s individual condition are critical for winning the fight against cancer,” noted Susan Harbin, Florida Senior Government Relations Director for ACS CAN. “Today’s legislation will bring the hope of precision medicine to more people across the state.” 

To date, 4 states across the country have passed legislation to ensure coverage biomarker testing reflects the latest evidence, with governors like Gov. Doug Ducey from Arizona sparking momentum around the initiative.  

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