Senate passes Hansen bill creating parity for oral oncology drugs

Sen. Goeff Hansen

Sen. Goeff Hansen

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Tuesday passed legislation that could save the lives of thousands by reducing the cost of certain chemotherapy treatments.

Senate Bill 625, sponsored by Sen. Goeff Hansen, would ensure that if a health insurance plan covers oral chemotherapy drugs, the medicine must be covered the same way intravenously or injected anticancer treatments are covered.

“SB 625 ensures access to all forms of chemotherapy for patients, regardless of how it is administered,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “Cost should not be a factor when a patient and their physician are determining the best course of treatment.”

Hansen said that certain types of cancer can be treated only by IV chemotherapy while others, such as blood cancers, can be treated only by oral chemotherapy.

“Unfortunately, if a patient requires oral chemotherapy pills and a physician prescribes them, the pills currently are covered as a prescription benefit,” Hansen said. “This method of coverage is expensive, costing up to $5,000 a month. My bill helps ensure access to all necessary treatment options.”

If signed into law, SB 625 would bring Michigan up to speed with 41 other states that have enacted similar oral chemotherapy access laws.

The bill now heads to the state House for further consideration.