Prescription Drug Affordability


Drug therapies play an integral role in cancer treatment. Advances in research have improved our understanding of cancer at the molecular level – leading to the development of more precise detection and diagnostic tools and corresponding therapies that are able to more specifically attack cancer.
Cancer patients and survivors rely on these new cancer therapies to treat their cancer and prevent recurrence. As more innovative therapies become available, we want to make sure that patients who are likely to benefit from these advances can also afford them so that we can achieve the national goal of eliminating death and suffering from cancer.
Lawmakers considering changes to public policies have the challenges of balancing the need to incentivize continued development of new cancer drugs with greater affordability of these therapies.  We believe that by bringing all stakeholders to the table there are ways to achieve this balance. 

Drug prices are one piece of the health care pie

Addressing drug prices in a vacuum will leave patients vulnerable to other out-of-pocket costs and our ability to make progress against a disease that is expected to kill more than 600,000 Americans this year – 1,650 today – depends in large part on removing barriers to all health care.

Latest Updates

November 26, 2018

The Department of Health and Human Services announced proposed changes to the Medicare Part C and D regulations today that if finalized could dramatically impact access to affordable medication and quality care for cancer patients on the program. The administration is proposing to alter rules around Medicare Part D’s “Six Protected Classes.” The proposals could have cost, care and safety implications.

October 17, 2018

On Friday, October 26, ACS CAN will host its annual policy forum in Oregon. This year's event focuses on the pressing issues surrounding the cost of breast cancer across different types of insurance.

August 8, 2018

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance last night giving Medicare Advantage plans the option of applying step therapy for physician-administered and other Part B drugs, effective January 1, 2019.

July 16, 2018

Today the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding proposals to reduce prescription drug costs outlined in the administration’s Request for Information (RFI) regarding its Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs (blueprint).

Prescription Drug Affordability Resources

Many cancer patients have difficulty affording the cost of their prescription drugs, regardless of whether they are insured.  This is especially true for newer drugs that do not have a generic equivalent.  Many programs exist to help patients afford their medication.  This fact sheet focuses on two of these – patient assistance programs and discount coupons.  

Where healthcare dollars are spent compared with dollars on cancer care, 2015.

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.