North Hollywood, California, August 4, 2014 -- The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) – improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure – today celebrates Maine’s Oral Anticancer Treatment Access Law taking effect. The law directs health benefit plans that provide coverage for cancer chemotherapy treatment to extend coverage for orally administered anticancer medications at a cost equal to the cost of intravenously administered or injected anticancer medications.
“It’s encouraging to see states recognize that policy needs to keep pace with medical advances that offer lifelines to patients who have exhausted other treatments,” said Susie Novis, President and Co-Founder of the IMF. “On behalf of cancer patients, the IMF is passionately engaged in raising awareness of this discrepancy in health care coverage in legislatures across the nation. We are grateful to Maine State Senator Emily Cain (D-District 30) for her swift action and commitment to passing this bill this year. She is a true champion of the cancer community.”
“I know that myeloma patients have faced a real fear of being unable to afford the therapy prescribed to most effectively treat their myeloma, and I am glad that patients in Maine will no longer have to face that fear,” said Aimee Martin, IMF Advocacy Associate, during a press conference in Lewiston, Maine. “Patients have told me that when they received their myeloma diagnoses, they did not cry. However, they did cry when they learned how much their lifesaving treatments would cost, fearing that they could not afford them. This new law ensures that Maine patients will be able to access the most effective therapies for them.”
Including Maine, similar legislation to protect cancer patients has been passed in 34 states plus the District of Columbia. The IMF continues its work to enact similar legislation in the remaining 16 states, as well as federal legislation currently in the House and Senate. HR 1801, the Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act, and S 1879, the Cancer Treatment Parity Act, have gathered bipartisan support. Please visit peac.myeloma.org for more information on these bills.
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL MYELOMA FOUNDATION
Celebrating its 23rd anniversary, the International Myeloma Foundation reaches more than 350,000 members in 120 countries worldwide. A 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients and their families, the IMF focuses on four key areas: research, education, support, and advocacy. To date, the IMF has conducted more than 250 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned hotline, and established the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), a collaborative research initiative focused on improving myeloma treatment options for patients. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE (2873). The global website is www.myeloma.org. Follow the IMF on Twitter at @IMFmyeloma.