New law requires coverage of oral chemotherapy

Published: October 30, 2013

A new state law will make oral chemotherapy medications more affordable to Oklahomans. I lost my dad to cancer nearly five years ago. During his cancer battle, he participated in a drug trial for an oral chemotherapy medication. The trial ended and the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug. Dad would have to take the chemotherapy pill for the rest of his life. We were lucky that his insurance company covered much of the cost, but many Oklahomans weren't that fortunate.

However, the new law requires that health insurance plans cover oral chemotherapy in the same manner as intravenous or injected treatments. This will help reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients. Oral chemotherapy medications have the ability to target some cancers with better results and fewer side effects. More than 25 percent of new cancer-fighting drugs in development are in the form of a pill. These drugs also have the added convenience that traditional therapy does not.

Though my dad won't benefit from the law, I'm happy to know that other Oklahoma families will. I want to thank state Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, and state Rep. David Derby, R-Owasso, for leading the charge on this issue, as well as the rest of the Legislature and Gov. Mary Fallin for passage of the bill.

Desarae Simmons, Burns Flat

The new law takes effect Thursday.