February signals the start of budget season in Michigan with the governor scheduled to present his budget to the Legislature on Wednesday, February 10 at 11:00 a.m. You can watch the hearing here.
In addition to the budget, there are several other issues we’ve been focused on.
Oral chemotherapy parity, or “fairness,” has finally started to see some action in the Senate. Last month, a coalition, including ACS CAN, worked with Senator Goeff Hansen to have Senate Bill 625 introduced and brought up for a hearing in the Senate Insurance Committee. Senate Bill 625 ensures that patients facing cancer won’t have to pay a higher price for chemotherapy taken orally, as opposed to intravenously. ACS CAN presented a letter to the committee, outlining the need for access to these critical treatment options for patients facing cancer. Our coalition hopes to have the legislation sent to the House before the start of summer recess.
The Senate Health Policy Committee took up House Bill 4812 which would provide regulations for the use of biosimilar medications in Michigan. These are drugs that are almost identical to an original product manufactured by a different company. But unlike generic drugs, they are not exact copies. We continue to support interchanging biosimilar drugs with prescribed medications, as long as the patient’s health care provider is notified. Because biosimilars are somewhat different from the originally prescribed drug, it’s important to notify a prescribing physician of the switch. This legislation is expected to make it out of the Senate before summer recess.
Medication synchronization is another issue that the House will take up later this month. Senate Bill 150 would allow patients schedule their medications to be filled on the same day. This ensures that patients and their caregivers won’t be running back and forth to the pharmacy to constantly refill prescriptions. The bill has moved from the Senate to the House for further consideration.
February is a busy month for ACS CAN in Michigan. For more information, go to our website at http://www.acscan.org/action/mi.