Recent Legislation and Regulatory Action

As a member of the Cancer Leadership Council (CLC) the Prevent Cancer Foundation has signed onto a letter commending Senators Harkin and Enzi and Representatives Upton and Waxman for their efforts to develop legislation aimed at protecting the pharmaceutical distribution supply chain. Safe and effective pharmaceutical products are a vital aspect of cancer patient’s treatment, and it is of the utmost importance that these drugs are not counterfeited or tampered with. After reviewing the draft bill, the CLC has made several comments recommendations which will go far in ensuring pharmaceutical distribution security.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation joins other members of the Cancer Leadership Council in addressing proposed changes in reimbursement for certain radiation oncology services proposed in the physician fee schedule update for calendar year 2013. The proposed changes depict the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ plan to greatly reduce physician reimbursement for intensity modulated radiation therapy and stereotactic body radiation therapy based on information that we believe to be incomplete. The Cancer Leadership Council opines that these changes could prove detrimental to oncology treatment decisions, and sent a letter to Marilyn Tavenner, Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, urging her to reconsider.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation is pleased to join with the Genetic Alliance and over 370 organizations to support the proposed Federal Rule RIN 0938-AQ38. Together we urge ranking members of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to quickly finalize RIN 0938-AQ38. This Rule aims to amend portions of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) with the intention of expanding patients’ right to access their health records by giving them the right to receive their test results directly from laboratories. Under current guidelines, patients in most states are restricted from receiving their test results directly from the laboratory, allowing patients to take a more active role in their own healthcare decisions. View our letter to learn more about this ruling.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation is pleased to endorse H.R. 5998, the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act. Over the past few years, the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) has released new recommendations for cancer screenings, resulting in restricted access to potentially life-saving screenings. H.R. 5998 is a bipartisan effort to bring increased transparency to the USPSTF processes and rulings, an effort which the Prevent Cancer Foundation supports. View the letter sent by the Prevent Cancer Foundation to Representatives John Barrow (GA-12) and Marsha Blackburn (TN-7) in support of the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act.

More people in the United States die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. This is true for both men and women. One of the primary reasons for this is because lung cancer often manifests itself with no symptoms, which inevitability results in late-stage diagnoses where the survival rate is extremely low. Recent clinical studies, including the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST) sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have validated the use of low-dose CT scans on high risk patients as effective in reducing mortality. As a result, we have written a letter urging the USPSTF to expedite review of its 2004 recommendation on lung cancer screening to improve access for high risk patients.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation strongly supports the reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), and has written a letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the subcommittee on Health urging them to support the reauthorization. PDUFA was first passed into law by Congress in 1992, with the purpose of funding the new drug approval process by allowing the FDA to collect fees from drug manufacturers. These funds allow the FDA to review, and therefore approve, new drugs in a much more expeditious manner; since the introduction of PDUFA, the average approval time for non-priority new drugs has dropped from 27 to 14 months. Decreasing the wait time for new drugs to become available is beneficial to both patients and drug manufacturers; if PDUFA lapses, the FDA would be forced to cut many of its drug reviewers, thereby greatly increasing the wait time in the drug approval process.

On December 16 the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its Essential Health Benefits Bulletin, with the purpose of providing information and soliciting comments on the regulatory approach that it plans to propose to define essential health benefits (EHB) under section 1302 of the Affordable Care Act. After careful consideration, the Cancer Leadership Council (CLC), a coalition to which the Prevent Cancer Foundation belongs, compiled a list of comments for the HHS’s consideration. To read its response letter, click here.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation, along with a coalition of other cancer-centric organizations, has recently co-signed letters to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding regulations for the provision of the Affordable Care Act which requires health plans to cover routine patient costs associated with clinical trial participation. Our goal is to ensure patient access to clinical trials and requires group health plans and insurance issuers to cover routine patient care costs incurred when individuals enroll in clinical trials for the prevention, detection, or treatment of cancer and other life-threatening diseases.  Enrollment in clinical trials could result in the difference between life and death for many cancer patients; it is therefore vital that all patients are able to access them as quickly and easily as possible. To read more about our recommendations, please view our letters addressed to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.

The PCF supports H.R. 1394 and S. 752, the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act of 2011. Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer among both men and women, resulting in approximately 222,250 new diagnoses and 157,300 deaths each year; in fact, lung cancer causes more deaths than the next four leading causes of cancer deaths (colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer) combined. The Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act of 2011 would establish a comprehensive approach that requires coordination of federal health agencies, provides new resources and tools to health agencies, supports early detection and treatment, and creates programs to combat lung cancer in vulnerable populations. The establishment of an Early Detection Program aimed at providing access for early detection to low-income, uninsured, and underserved populations at risk for lung cancer is crucial because early detection is key in increasing the rate of survival. To read the letter we sent to Members of Congress encouraging them to support this Act, please click here.

December 23, 2011 marks the fortieth anniversary of President Nixon’s enactment of the National Cancer Act. The signing of this legislation was our country’s first declared “war on cancer.”  We’ve made great progress since this time but have lost countless lives as well. The Prevent Cancer Foundation has endorsed a Senate resolution spearheaded by Senators Sherrod Brown, Jerry Moran and John Kerry. We urge you to contact your US Senators and ask them to cosponsor this resolution. You can join our Advocacy Action Center today to communicate your support  for this resolution, and honor the more than 12,000,000 survivors of cancer alive today because of the nation’s commitment to cancer research and advances in prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation is proud to convey our support for H.R. 1676, the Tanning Bed Cancer Control Act of 2011. We strongly support the goal of this legislation, to expand federal regulation regarding tanning beds in what we consider a positive and proactive manner that could potentially help reduce the incidence of skin cancer. We support legislation that will empower the Food and Drug Administration to determine whether the current performance standards and regulations placed on tanning beds accurately reflect their safety and effectiveness. View the letter sent by the Prevent Cancer Foundation to Representatives Maloney and Dent endorsing the Tanning Bed Cancer Control Act of 2011.

We’re pleased to partner with the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (EIF’s NCCRA) and other national partners to present the 2012 Colorectal Cancer Legislation Report Card. Click here to see how your state is doing in protecting or improving access to colorectal cancer screening and for ideas about how you can get involved.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation, in partnership with Fight Colorectal Cancer, is organizing advocates to call Congress in support of the Colorectal Cancer Prevention, Early Detection, and Treatment Act of 2011. This bill has just been introduced by Congresswoman Kay Granger (TX-12), Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-3), Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas) and Senator Joe Lieberman (Connecticut) and will create a national screening and treatment program modeled after the very successful breast and cervical cancer screening program. This bill will help educate the public and improve access to screening for those that might not otherwise be able to afford it. To join our call please read our call information and script here.

To read about past legislation and regulatory actions that the Prevent Cancer Foundation has been involved with, please click here.