Following the 14th Annual Meeting October 12-14, 2018, NASPCC conducted a separate Bone Health Access Roundtable at The Liaison Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. on Sunday, October 14 from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., followed by a dinner with the attendees. Present were Johnny Payne, Don Lynam, LaTanya Patton, Merel Nissenberg and Tom Kirk (all of whom are on NASPCC’s Executive Committee); along with Elizabeth Franklin of Cancer Support Community; Anna Hyde from the Arthritis Foundation; Maureen Rigney from Lung Cancer Alliance; Walt Dardenne (Advanced Prostate Cancer Support Group in California); NASPCC representatives Gabe Rosko (New Jersey), Renee Savickas (Colorado), Beverlyn Eckert (Arkansas), Dave and Doreen Hulbert (Minnesota), and James West (Florida); Breast Cancer Advocates Vernal Branch and Valerie Fraser; Samuel Denmeade, M.D. of Johns Hopkins; Karl Sjostrand, Ph.D. of Progenics; and Linda Murakami from Amgen.
Dr. Denmeade presented on bone involvement in cancer and the need to use Bone Targeting Agents (BTA’s), and Dr. Sjostrand demonstrated accurate bone health imaging for use by clinicians through the Automated Bone Scan Index. Elizabeth Franklin and Anna Hyde both talked to the Roundtable participants about Step Therapy and why we should care, as the insurance rule which is being utilized by certain private insurance companies and will be applied to Medicare Advantage patients starting January 1, 2019 is likely to interfere with access to prescribed treatments for cancer patients. There was discussion about the 10 new states that have passed legislation on step therapy and patient protections, and the need to make sure that those laws are in fact implemented.
Don Lynam, Chair of NASPCC’s Advocacy Committee, agreed that we want to make Step Therapy a priority issue for our organization and hopefully lead the prostate cancer community in this effort, as well as to join state and federal activities geared for that purpose. We will also explore a meeting with Representative Ruiz of California who sponsored federal legislation on Step Therapy that needs to be reintroduced in the new Congress. NASPCC will join efforts by multiple foundations and advocacy organizations in the Step Therapy efforts that they have made and continue to make.