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November 2014

Chemotherapy Parity Laws: A Remedy for High Drug Costs?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Program on Regulation, Therapeutics, and Law (PORTAL), Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(11):1721-1722. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.4878

In June 2014, Ohio became the 34th state, plus the District of Columbia, to enact a law that requires health insurers to provide coverage for oral chemotherapeutic agents under “no less favorable” terms than for intravenous chemotherapy (Table). Legislators, physicians, and patient advocacy groups have lauded these so-called oral chemotherapy parity laws for making expensive cancer therapies more affordable and accessible to patients. These laws mean well. They are, however, at best an inadequate response to the more fundamental problem of the increasing costs of cancer medications.

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