LEGISLATION TO EASE ACCESS TO CLINICAL TRIALS FOR CANCER PATIENTS

Apr 19, 2001
Press Release
Washington, D.C. - Staunch health care rights supporter, Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-14), strongly supports H.R. 967, Access to Cancer Clinical Trials.

Congresswoman Maloney is one of three original co-sponsors of the bill, which was introduced by Representative Deborah Price (R-OH-15). This legislation would require all health care plans to include coverage of routine costs for patients participating in a cancer clinical trial.

"We must have a national policy that grants patients basic coverage while they are participating in a clinical trial for cancer. Anything less is a disgrace," Representative Maloney said. "In many cases, clinical trials offer cutting edge treatments which are the best hope for these patients."

Currently, only 3% of cancer patients enroll in a clinical trial. They are discouraged to do so because many health insurers are hesitant to provide coverage. In H.R. 967, health insurers are not asked to pay for any drugs being tested in trials, and are not asked to pay for any research related costs. The costs associated with this bill are minimal. Health care companies are only asked to provide basic coverage for their members.

Maloney noted that there are only 9 states in which clinical trial laws have been passed. "This means a patient from New York wanting to participate in an NYU Medical School trial would not be able to. The state has passed no such law granting basic coverage to this person," Maloney said. We need to enact a national policy, granting the same rights to all citizens and potential patients in this country.

"Let us move closer to a comprehensive Patient's Bill of Rights," Maloney said. "We must let patients know they should wage a strong battle against their illness, not their health care companies."

 

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