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Cancer fairness act wins Senate support

The Florida Senate unanimously approved a bill that will require insurers to provide the same level of coverage for orally administered cancer drugs than those administered through IV.

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia already have similar laws on the books, according to the Alliance for Access to Cancer Care. In Florida, cancer medications in pill form are oftentimes much more expensive for patients than those received intravenously.

SB 422 is a personal crusade for Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto, whose mother died of lung cancer. She choked up on the Senate floor while discussing the measure prior to today's vote.

Her colleagues all signed on to cosponsor the bill. Its companion in the House also has widespread support but has stalled at its final committee stop: Health and Human Services. Chairman Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, did not put HB 301 on the agenda for today's meeting.

“As we send it across to the House with its 90 cosponsors, I ask the chairman that it sits in front of to hear the bill,” Benacquisto said. “And I ask the Florida House to join us in giving patients access to treatment that will save their lives.”

Click here to read a Tampa Bay Times article about a Pasco County doctor turned cancer patient who says oral medications helped save his life.