Access to Affordable Cancer Drugs


Fighting cancer is a struggle. Getting access to the lifesaving cancer drugs you need – at a price you can afford - shouldn't be.

Too many cancer patients face barriers in getting health insurance coverage for the prescription drugs recommended by their oncologist. And then, oftentimes, even when coverage is there, their share of the cost can bust the household budget.

We must find new solutions to make cancer drugs more accessible and affordable for cancer patients - whether through new regulations or laws passed by Congress and your state legislature.

56% of cancer patients and survivors are worried about being able to afford their treatment

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Secretary Azar: Don't delay access to lifesaving medicine for cancer patients

Tell Health & Human Services Secretary Azar: Don't delay access to lifesaving medicine for cancer patients! Stop the proposed changes to Medicare Part D's Six Protected Classes.

Latest Updates

May 16, 2019

Today the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued its final rule for Medicare Part D which does not include the full range of proposed changes to drugs in the ‘six protected classes’ of cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, mental illness and organ transplants.

May 14, 2019

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) launched an ad campaign this week highlighting deep concerns from cancer patients and survivors over the dangerous impact that proposed changes to Medicare Part D’s six protected classes could have on their access to critical drug therapies.

March 28, 2019

A new nationwide survey of cancer patients, caregivers and doctors details the negative effects insurance utilization management policies in private insurance have had on patient care and what those policies could mean should proposed changes to Medicare’s Part D’s “six protected classes” prescription drug coverage policy go into effect.

February 5, 2019

Cancer patients, survivors and caregivers will tune into the president’s State of the Union address to see if the president will commit to strengthen the nation's health care system, support life-saving medical research and improve quality of life for patients.

Access to Affordable Cancer Drugs Resources

ACS CAN is very concerned about proposed policy changes that would move coverage of cancer and supportive care drugs from Part B to Part D. Proposed policy changes could jeopardize patient access to drugs, create potential safety issues, and increase out-of-pocket costs for patients who already struggle to afford cancer treatment under the current Medicare program.

In 2003, Congress passed the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), which created an outpatient prescription drug benefit in the Medicare program. Known as Part D, the prescription benefit is operated exclusively through private insurance plans that contract with Medicare. To ensure that beneficiaries have coverage for the drugs they need Part D plans are required to cover at least two drugs in each therapeutic class. A therapeutic class is a group of medications that are used to treat the same condition. 

Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are entities that administer prescription drug programs for many private, public, and employer health insurance plans. PBMs establish pharmacy networks, negotiate prices with pharmaceutical manufacturers on behalf of their clients, and provide basic claims administration.