Cancer treatments will become cheaper for thousands of Missourians at the start of next year.
Governor Nixon has signed the bill quickly passed by the legislature that will lessen the cost of oral chemotherapy treatments. The law that goes into effect at the start of 2015 limits the amount per month that insurance companies can charge patients using the oral medication instead of the injectable medications. Missouri is the 28th state with such a law.
The American Cancer Society estimates 34,000 Missourians a year hear their doctors say “Cancer.” Society spokesman Stacy Reliford says the oral treatments can target specific Cancers, don’t require patients to be hooked to a machine for several hours or to spend hours traveling to a treatment center. And the side effects are better. “The IV… is basically kind of a torch and destroy kind of mission for your body. It’s obviously getting rid of the Cancer cells but it’s also getting rid of those healthy cells which is reducing your immunity to other things which is making you sick,” she says.
She says oral chemotherapy growing; about 25% of new treatments are oral treatments. But it’s not entirely new technology. She says some oral chemotherapy drugs have been around long enough that generic versions are being made.