The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society hails new law to increase patient access to oral chemotherapies

Richmond, VA  – Legislation (HB1273 / SB450) that will provide better access to life-extending oral chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients in Virginia was signed into law by Governor Bob McDonnell on Thursday, April 5.  The law takes effect on July 1, 2012. “Oral chemotherapies are often the best – and many times the only – treatment option available for cancer patients,” said Sheri Coombs Lambert, Executive Director for the Virginia Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).  “This new law, signed by Governor Bob McDonnell, will make these critical treatments more affordable for patients, and we thank Senator Jill Vogel and Delegate Chris Peace for putting this important issue before the General Assembly.”

Without mandating specific out-of-pocket costs for patients, the new law requires insurance plans to use consistent criteria when establishing co-payments for cancer medications, whether the treatments are administered orally or through intravenous injection (IV).

Currently, intravenous (IV) chemotherapy drugs administered at a hospital or clinic are typically bundled as a medical benefit under a patient’s health insurance plan, requiring a simple co-pay.   However, many oral drugs are defined under a patient’s pharmacy benefit and frequently require much higher out-of-pocket costs for patients.  The new law should result in more consistent patient access to cancer medicines.

“We would also like to thank our coalition partners who helped push for this important legislations, including the Virginia Medical Society, the American Cancer Society, the Virginia Pharmacists Association, Virginia Association of Hematologists and Oncologists, International Myeloma Foundation, International Cancer Advocacy Network and the National Patient Advocate Foundation,” said Coombs Lambert.

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ® (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit or contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.