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Oral chemo parity passes senate


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri senate gave preliminary approval to a bill that aims to lower treatment costs for certain cancer patients. The bill was passed on Tuesday when it was unexpectedly brought to the floor.

Sen. Ryan Silvey
Sen. Ryan Silvey

The measure would cap how much insurance companies can charge for chemotherapy pills, rather than intravenous chemotherapy treatments. The bill would allow insurance companies to charge no more than $75 more for oral chemotherapy.

Oral chemotherapy can be significantly more costly because it is often handled as a pharmacy benefit, while intravenous chemotherapy typically is charged at the typical office visit co-pay rate.

Twenty-seven other states have laws for oral chemotherapy parity, but the issue has died several consecutive years in the senate. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, said this year’s early passage was possible because of the compromise finally reached.

“This language in the senate substitute reflects a deal we’ve reached with all the interested parties,” Silvey said. “And the reason this has failed the last 4 years is because someone in one of the various sectors has opposed it. But all of those people have been brought into this, and we have a deal that none of them should oppose.”

Silvey said that yesterday before the swift passage he met with House sponsors and some members of House leadership to lay out the compromise language. He said he hopes to have language through the House by spring break, and that he anticipates it will be passed cleanly.