Senate Republican Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sen. Rosen Bill to Limit Step Therapy Protocol Scheduled for Public Hearing
Who: Insurance and Financial Services Committee
What: Public hearing on LD 1407, “An Act Regarding Prescription Drug Step Therapy”
Where: Cross Building, Room 220
When: Tuesday, April 25 at 1:00 PM
AUGUSTA – On Tuesday, April 25, the Insurance and Financial Services Committee will hold a public hearing on Senator Kim Rosen’s (R-Hancock) bill limit step therapy protocol for patients with life-threatening diseases, including mental illness.
Step therapy, also referred to as fail first, is a protocol commonly used by insurance companies to curb costs by denying patients the prescription their doctor has ordered in favor of a medication that is preferred by the insurance company. That preference is typically based on the best financial interest of the insurer, not the best medical interest of the patient. If the patient tries the preferred substitution and fails or suffers an adverse reaction, the insurer will then require the patient to try another medication—of their choosing. Patients can be forced to fail multiple times on medications other than what their doctor has prescribed before gaining access to the drug originally recommended by their physician.
If passed, Sen. Rosen’s bill would put guardrails around the use of step therapy in a few specific instances where a drug failure could cost the patient their life or put them at great risk in certain instances.
“While it’s important for health insurance companies to identify savings to keep the cost of health insurance down, I think we can all agree that the overall health and wellbeing of the patient should be first and foremost,” said Sen. Rosen. “If you have a form of advanced cancer and don’t have long to live, but there’s a drug that your doctor thinks could ease your pain or save your life, then you don’t have time to fail on two or more drugs before you gain access to the medications you need.