Mississippi health care advocates are urging senators to pass a house bill that would make the cost of oral and IV chemotherapy the same. The bill would help cancer patients make the best decisions based on their doctor's recommendations, rather than the cost of treatment.
Jennifer Richards, a 40-year-old wife and mother from Brandon, is now in remission after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma in January 2013. It is a type of blood cancer that begins in the bone marrow and affects the plasma cells. Richards said she was shocked to find out a one month prescription of her medication ordered by her doctor, would cost 13 hundred dollars.
"Financially it is a burden," Richards said. "You have to make sacrifices and choices about the type of medication to take in order to stay in remission verses not taking it and gamble with your life on getting cancer back."
Kimberly Hughes with the American Cancer Society said the measure would require equal health insurance coverage for oral and IV chemotherapy.
"This legislation would kind of catch up on the technology of the new drug with the existing law regarding insurance policies," Hughes said. "It would give patients and their doctor’s freedom to choose the best course of treatment for their cancer, and the patient will not have to worry about which treatment is more expensive."
Thirty-four states have enacted oral chemotherapy access laws. Mississippi is one of just 16 states that has not passed laws for equal health coverage for cancer patient treatments.