Sacramento, Calif. – California State Senator Susan Rubio and Assemblymember Mike Gipson received the Legislator of the Year award, a prestigious honor bestowed by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in recognition of their commitment to strong, evidence-based policies that improve public health and save lives from cancer.
Sen. Rubio’s leadership was vital to the passage of The Cancer Medication Recycling Act, which allows cancer patients to donate their unused oral anti-cancer medications to patients in need. Existing law authorized a county to establish a voluntary drug repository and distribution program to distribute surplus medications, but cancer medications were not included in these programs.
“This legislation was born after our co-sponsors at the Association of Northern California Oncologists noticed that they often had returned, unused medication from one patient while they had another patient who needed that same medication but could not afford to start treatment right away. Cancer medication recycling programs help ensure more cancer patients in California have access to lifesaving medications in a timely manner while reducing waste,” said ACS CAN California State Legislative Director Autumn J. Ogden-Smith.
Asm. Gipson championed legislation to remove out-of-pocket cost-sharing for patients needing a colonoscopy following a positive non-invasive screening test, reducing barriers for patients to receive lifesaving tests.
“Everyone should have access to colorectal cancer screenings and lifesaving treatments regardless of their income, race or zip code. Eliminating cost barriers will have a positive impact particularly among our rural communities and communities of color who experience higher colorectal cancer mortality rates,” said Ogden-Smith.
Both legislators were honored during the 2022 ACS CAN California Policy Roundtable and Legislative Awards reception, which was held virtually Tuesday evening. During the event, experts in public health discussed the pivotal role that the California Cancer Registry plays in providing insight to develop policies that help reduce the burden of cancer and advance health equity.
The California Cancer Registry is a vast repository of cancer data that with appropriate, ongoing funding could provide real-time data for researchers and clinical trials. ACS CAN, Public Health Institute and University of Southern California are requesting a budget increase of $6.6 million for the registry, which is the largest in the nation and one of the leading cancer registries in the world.