Susan G. Komen Florida affiliates lead advocacy for passing of new Oral Parity Bill

07/14/2014

FORT MYERS, Fla. (July 14, 2014) – On July 1, 2014, the Cancer Treatment Fairness Act, also known as the Oral Parity Bill, was passed into law requiring Florida insurers to provide fair and equal coverage for cancer drugs that are administered orally. Susan G. Komen Southwest Florida, along with the other five Susan G. Komen affiliates throughout Florida, comprise the Komen Florida Public Policy Collaborative. It was the Florida Collaborative that led the fight toward achieving oral parity by forming a statewide coalition of 25 cancer-related non-profit organizations. The coalition worked collaboratively to facilitate the passing of the Oral Parity Bill. Although the bill passed during the 2013 legislative session, it was not scheduled to go into effect until July 1, 2014, allowing insurance companies to be prepared for the transition.

“Before this bill was passed one patient could get a traditional, intravenous or injectable chemotherapy treatment in a clinical setting and only have to make a $50 co-pay. But a different patient, one whose doctor recommended chemotherapy in pill form, could be hit with a co-pay as high as $3,000, $5,000, or even $10,000 per month,” said Tish Sheesley, Komen Southwest Florida’s mission events director and current chairperson for Komen Florida’s Public Policy Collaborative. “This legislation is a crucial step toward providing cancer patients with advanced, affordable, and convenient treatment options.”

Cancer drugs taken in pill form typically have fewer of the harsh side effects than traditional chemotherapy because they are designed to target specific cancer cells. “Because of the decreased side effects, patients can generally continue to work or go to school throughout the course of their treatment, meaning fewer missed days for both them and their caregiver,” commented Sheesley.

In addition to education, screening, treatment and support, Susan G. Komen Southwest Florida serves as an advocate on local, state, and federal breast cancer issues. Florida is now one of 25 states that have passed the oral parity legislation.

About Susan G. Komen Southwest Florida
Seventy-five percent of the Affiliate’s net fundraising proceeds stays in the local community to provide education, screening, treatment and support; the remaining twenty-five percent of the net proceeds supports groundbreaking national breast cancer research programs. Since 2002, Susan G. Komen Southwest Florida has given more than $6.6 million in grants to local non-profit organizations in the five-county area. Susan G. Komen is the largest funder of non-governmental breast cancer research in the world. Visit www.komenswfl.org or call (239) 498-0016 for more information about Susan G. Komen Southwest Florida.