Bill requiring coverage for chemo drug advances

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – The Utah House has advanced a measure that aims to cut the cost of expensive cancer treatment pills for patients.

The bill would require insurance companies pick up a greater share of the tab for oral chemotherapy drugs.

Nationally, cancer-fighting pills are on the rise. They are replacing chemo delivered through the patient’s vein.

That means less debilitating side effects and fewer trips to the clinic. But the drugs also carry co-payments that can total up to a few thousand dollars.

Right now, insurers reimburse patients for IV chemotherapy, but not for the drugs, which have become much more available in the past few years.

The House approved the bill on a 72-1 vote Tuesday. It now heads to the governor for a signature or veto.

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