Brain Tumor Patient Community Delivers Priorities to Congress: Invest in Research and Ensure Access to Oral Chemotherapy
Washington, D.C. – May 7, 2012 - As Brain Tumor Awareness Month begins, the National Brain Tumor Society and Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure will rally staff, family members, patients and advocates to urge Members of Congress to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and support the Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act (HR 2746) tomorrow. In a time of heated debate over the budget and significant changes to the healthcare system, the Group hopes to put a face to these issues and acquire the support of Congress to unite against brain tumors, one of the most deadly forms of cancer and one with very few approved medicines.
“An increasing number of brain tumor patients are reporting higher co-pays or co-insurance costs to access temozolomide, an oral chemotherapy medicine. Oral temozolomide is often part of the standard of care and is one of the few options – patients must have access to this medicine to stay alive,” said Paul TonThat, Executive Director, National Brain Tumor Society. “It’s unacceptable for obstacles in health insurance to exist which deter or prevent patients from accessing brain cancer medication,” concluded TonThat. The Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act would require health insurance plans that already cover oral, IV and injectable chemotherapy to cover oral chemotherapy on an equal out-of-pocket cost basis as traditional IV and injectable chemotherapy.
Max Wallace, Chief Executive Officer, Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure addressed the need to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health by stating “Congress should really step up its support of NIH research, as funding is critical to accelerating discovery which can lead to new treatments for brain tumor patients. Science is developing so rapidly that any cuts can set back research progress by many years.”
BethAnn Telford, a brain tumor survivor said it best “We have to do better as a country to help patients survive and to find cures. Congress should do its part by ensuring access to oral chemotherapy and increased funding for the NIH.”