New Missouri law limits cost of chemotherapy pills

Save Story
Leer en español

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Cancer medication that previously could cost thousands of dollars will at most be $75 a month for Missouri residents once a new law limiting the price of chemotherapy pills takes effect Thursday.

Missouri is among at least 33 other states that have passed legislation to reduce the cost of the pills. Lawmakers and advocates for cancer patients say the law will mean greater access to care with fewer harmful side effects compared to traditional intravenous chemotherapy.

It is one of several laws that will take effect in 2015. Another law will require doctors to notify women after they receive a mammogram that dense breast tissue can hide signs of cancer.

Others include a law creating sinkhole insurance, a mandate that the state create a handbook to help train adult day care providers and a fee increase for companies that violate federal natural gas safety standards.

The oral chemotherapy law has gained the most attention. The legislation took three years to pass after some legislators were concerned it would increase insurance premiums.

An analysis commissioned by the Legislature in 2013 found that premiums could rise by an average of 57 cents per month because of the legislation. Average commercial plans cost $350 per month, according the report.

Insurers previously could classify the drugs as prescriptions instead of medical procedures like the IV therapy sessions, which often cost patients less.

Pills can cost thousands more for patients, so those diagnosed with cancer sometimes opt to have the drugs pumped directly into the bloodstream through an IV instead, said Carli Howard Good, executive director of Susan G. Komen Greater Kansas City.

She said side effects of the oral medication often are less intense because those drugs target cancer cells and damage fewer healthy cells.

Some patients choose the less expensive IV treatment even if their doctors advise them that the pills are more medically beneficial, Good said. The new law is "making sure people have access to the best course of care," she said.

State Rep. Sheila Solon, a Blue Springs Republican, said the law also could boost the economy, although no assessment has verified that. Solon said both patients and their family members would spend less time away from work for treatment because symptoms of the pills can last a few days compared to weeks for the IV method.

Patients also can take the medication at home, Solon said, cutting down time spent commuting to hospitals. Both Solon and state Sen. Ryan Silvey, who sponsored the Senate version of the bill that ultimately passed, said that will save patients in rural areas the hassle of driving sometimes hours for hospital appointments.

Silvey said he became involved with the legislation last year after a friend diagnosed with cancer began taking oral chemotherapy.

But "not everybody is that fortunate," the Kansas City Republican said.


Follow Summer Ballentine at: .

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Most recent U.S. stories

Related topics



    Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast