Health-Care Policy

Health-Care Policy
Issues in Oncology

ASCO’s State of Cancer Care in America: 2017 Report Acknowledges Both the Progress Made in Oncology Care and the Challenges Ahead

Jo Cavallo  / April 10, 2017

Despite advances in cancer risk assessment, prevention, disease detection, drug development, and health-care delivery, which have led to unparalleled reductions in cancer incidence and mortality, access to affordable health care and increased administrative burdens placed on oncology practices threa...

Health-Care Policy
Pain Management

ASCO Addresses New Policies That Threaten Access to Opioids

Ronald Piana  / March 25, 2017

Since the mid-2000s, medication and illicit drug abuse in the United Sates has steadily increased, creating what has now been termed an “opioid epidemic.” In response, Congress and the Bush and Obama Administrations have launched intervention and regulatory proposals to help turn the troubling trend...

Health-Care Policy

Oncology Organizations Applaud Passage of the 21st Century Cures Act

The ASCO Post  / December 25, 2016

On Tuesday, December 13, President Obama signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act, landmark legislation designed to improve and accelerate the pace of biomedical research in the United States. ASCO Chief Executive Officer Clifford Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO, attended the White House signing cerem...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

AACR Holds Congressional Briefing to Reiterate Moonshot Goals and Plans

Margot J. Fromer  / August 25, 2016

“We are in an era of unprecedented scientific opportunities in cancer research,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), Executive Officer, American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), as she introduced the Congressional briefing, “Seizing Today’s Opportunities to Accelerate Cancer Research.” “Thanks...

Health-Care Policy

Pediatric Oncology Groups Endorse Ethical Framework for Rationing Scarce Drugs

Kirsten Boyd Goldberg  / March 10, 2016

The Children’s Oncology Group (COG) and the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO) have endorsed formal clinical recommendations for rationing chemotherapy and supportive care agents during times of shortage. The guidance is needed because persistent shortages of many standard the...

Legislation
Health-Care Policy

An Increase for the National Institutes of Health Budget

Kirsten Boyd Goldberg  / March 10, 2016

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) received a nearly $2 billion funding increase—the first large increase for the agency in more than 12 years—in the federal omnibus spending bill Congress passed on December 18, 2015. And President Barack Obama signed the bill into law a day later. The 6.6% in...

Health-Care Policy
Issues in Oncology

Evolving Tools for Clinical Decision-Making

Caroline McNeil  / February 25, 2016

Value in cancer care—and how to define it—is a hot topic. There is general agreement that it is some measure of benefit vs cost, but “should the focus be on providing value to patients at a population level or at an individual level?” asked Alan Balch, PhD, CEO of the Patient Advocate Foundation, sp...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Cancer Care in Low-Resource Areas: Some Improvements Over the Years, but Serious Problems Remain

Margot J. Fromer  / December 10, 2015  / 2015 National Cancer Policy Forum

Low- and middle-income countries bear a larger share of the global cancer burden than does the developed world,” said Greta ­Massetti, PhD, Associate Director for Science, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Cancer Prevention and Control and Co-Chair of the National Cancer P...

Issues in Oncology
Legislation

Debate Over Physician-Assisted Suicide Continues, State by State

Ronald Piana  / November 10, 2015

In 1997, after surviving a storm of high-court legal challenges, Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act went into effect, making Oregon the first American state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. The Supreme Court ruled that there was no right to assisted suicide in the Constitution but implied that s...

Health-Care Policy

Inconsistent Federal Regulations Undercut U.S. Research Productivity, National Academies’ Report Finds

Kirsten Boyd Goldberg  / October 25, 2015

Ask any U.S. academic investigator whether research is hindered by duplicative or confusing federal regulations, and the answer is usually a resounding “Yes.” Now comes a report written by representatives of research administrators, former federal government officials, and principal investigators—in...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

ASCO Asks CMS to Revisit Its Payment Policy to Support Optimal Cancer Care

The ASCO Post  / October 10, 2015

ASCO has called on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to reconsider revisions to payment policies that could be administratively burdensome to oncology practices and result in reimbursement that inadequately supports optimal cancer patient care. In a comment letter to CMS on the...

Health-Care Policy

Medicare to Reimburse Doctors for End-of-Life Counseling

Ronald Piana  / August 10, 2015

In a breakthrough proposal announced on July 8, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to reimburse physicians for end-of-life counseling, a move that the oncology community has long been lobbying for. Arriving just as the presidential election cycle begins to heat up, the CMS ...

Breast Cancer
Issues in Oncology

Assessing and Improving Imaging Interpretation in Breast Cancer Screening

Margot J. Fromer  / July 10, 2015  / 2015 IOM Workshop: Improving Breast Imaging Quality Standards

The quality of mammography images has markedly improved over the past few decades. However, the quality of the interpretation of mammograms remains variable. That said, more than 38 million mammograms are performed annually in the United States. So said Diana Buist, PhD, Senior Scientific Investiga...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Translating Study Recommendations Into Medicare Coverage

Ronald Piana  / July 10, 2015

Lung cancer doggedly remains the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. This grim mortality figure is due, in part, to a lack of early detection methods; more than half of all lung cancers have metastasized at the time of diagnosis. For decades, lung cancer advocates lobbied for...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

ASCO Releases 2015 Report on The State of Cancer Care in America

Jo Cavallo  / May 10, 2015

In March, ASCO published its second annual report, The State of Cancer Care in America: 2015.1 Its findings show a mixed landscape, on the one hand, spotlighting advances in therapy and improving survival rates, but on the other, describing a cancer care system under stress from increasing demand fo...

Health-Care Policy

After Decades of Uncertainty, the Sustainable Growth Rate Formula Is Repealed by Congress

Ronald Piana  / May 10, 2015

The U.S. Congress recently did something remarkable: both parties reached across the aisle and overwhelmingly passed H.R. 2, a bill that will permanently repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR), the problematic formula for Medicare reimbursement. It just needed the President’s signature, which it r...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Commends U.S. House of Representatives for Voting to Repeal the SGR, Urges Senate to Pass Legislation

The ASCO Post  / April 10, 2015

We applaud the House of Representatives for passing legislation that eliminates the Sustainable Growth Rate [SGR] formula and takes a giant leap toward meaningful and urgently needed Medicare physician payment reform. Cancer incidence among Medicare beneficiaries is expected to increase by 67% by 20...

Lung Cancer
Health-Care Policy

CMS Issues Preliminary Decision to Cover Annual Lung Cancer Screening

Ronald Piana  / December 15, 2014

In a long-awaited decision, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a preliminary proposal to cover annual lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography for appropriate beneficiaries following counseling and a shared–decision-making visit with a qualified provider...

Palliative Care

Private Payer and Academic Center Data Capture Inappropriate Use of End-of-Life Care

Alice Goodman  / December 15, 2014  / 2014 Quality Care Symposium

Data sharing between a comprehensive cancer center and a private insurer appears to be a novel way to capture practice patterns that can point to potential quality improvements. A study that combined data from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts showed that some ...

Health-Care Policy

Policy Issues in Molecularly Targeted Therapy: The Science, the Money, the Applications

Margot J. Fromer  / December 15, 2014  / 2014 NCPF Workshop: Policy Issues in the Development and Adoption of Molecularly Targeted Therapies for Cancer

In the past decade, much new knowledge about the molecular underpinnings of cancer has accumulated, and the array of molecular aberrations in each individual tumor can be assessed through genomic sequencing and other tests. The rationale for and feasibility of developing molecularly targeted therapi...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Calls for Major Medicaid Reform to Improve Quality Cancer Care for Low-Income Americans

Jo Cavallo  / December 1, 2014

ASCO issued its new Policy Statement on Medicaid Reform on November 17, which calls for major changes to the program to ensure access to high-quality cancer care for all low-income individuals. The Society’s recommendations call for Medicaid expansion in all 50 states to close coverage gaps, improve...

Breast Cancer
Cost of Care

Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy Program Improves Adherence to Hormone Therapy After Breast Cancer Surgery

The ASCO Post  / December 1, 2014

Findings from a study of more than 23,000 women suggest that the Medicare Part D Extra Help program, which provides low-income subsidies for medications, improves adherence to hormone therapy after breast cancer surgery in all racial/ethnic groups and reduces racial/ethnic disparities. The study, re...

Health-Care Policy

Health-Care Reform Is Changing the Oncology Landscape

Susan London  / October 15, 2014  / 2014 Best of ASCO Seattle

Value-based health-care reform is happening. We have to get on board,” Rena Conti, PhD, a health economist at the University of Chicago, advised attendees of the Best of ASCO Seattle meeting. She discussed highlights from Annual Meeting sessions that addressed the impact of the Affordable Care Act o...

Health-Care Policy
Cost of Care

Tough Questions About Health-Care Reform Put Economist in Hot Seat

Susan London  / October 15, 2014  / 2014 Best of ASCO Seattle

Although diverse stakeholders agree that health reform is needed, there is little consensus on the specifics of that reform. Best of ASCO Seattle attendees put a number of pointed questions to health economist Rena Conti, PhD, of the University of Chicago, asking about thorny issues such as cost con...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

9/11 and Cancer: What Do We Know?

Ronald Piana  / September 15, 2014

On September 11, 2001, the devastating terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center left in its wake a unique toxic site in both mass and quantity of hazardous materials. It took 9 months to remove approximately 2 million tons of wreckage from Ground Zero, during which thousands of emergen...

Health-Care Policy

Does the United States Have the Best Health-Care System in the World?

Hagop Kantarjian, MD  / August 15, 2014

Many concerns were raised and dire speculations predicted during the further implementation of the Affordable Care Act this year. So far, the trickling news is good: An estimated total of 20 million people gained coverage under the new law as of May 1,1 about 6 million enrolled in the law’s Medicaid...

Health-Care Policy

IOM Workshop Explores Growing Problems in Patient Access to Cancer Drugs

Margot Fromer  / July 10, 2014

Cancer patients’ out-of-pocket costs are rising dramatically, and insurance premiums, cost sharing, and ancillary expenses can be devastating. Many people go bankrupt as a result of the high costs of health care. Drugs are among the most serious economic culprits. They grow more expensive every year...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

Cancer Care Under the Affordable Care Act

Ronald Piana  / June 25, 2014

The problematic rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s website, HealthCare.gov, made good political theater, but while much of the heated discussion centered on the plan’s need to enroll “young invincibles,” America’s cancer care system and the older patients it serves were also affected by parts of t...

Lung Cancer
Issues in Oncology

Medicare Advisory Panel Cast Doubts on Lung Cancer Screening, Leaving Advocates Dismayed but Undaunted

Ronald Piana  / June 10, 2014

On April 30, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) convened the Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC) to assess the value of low-dose computed tomography (CT) lung cancer screening in the Medicare population. After a decades-long battle, lung...

Health-Care Policy

Patients Benefit From Faster FDA Drug Approval Process

Margot Fromer  / June 10, 2014

In an increasing spirit of cooperation, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and several pharmaceutical companies are bringing to fruition the newest in a series of ways to expedite drug development and review. Breakthrough therapy is the designation instituted in 2012 by the FDA Safety and Inno...

Health-Care Policy

Unprecedented Release of Medicare Data Raises Concerns About Lack of Context: Statements From COA and ASTRO

The ASCO Post  / June 10, 2014

In April, as part of the Obama administration’s work to make the U.S. health-care system more transparent, affordable, and accountable, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a vast amount of privacy-protected data on services and procedures provided to Medicare beneficiarie...

Health-Care Policy

The Affordable Care Act: NCCN Panelists Rate It ‘Average’

Caroline Helwick and Susan Reckling  / May 15, 2014  / 2014 Annual NCCN Conference

Oncologists and third-party payers are already experiencing changes as a result of the Affordable Care Act, which earned an “average” rating by a panel of providers, payers, and patients assembled at the 19th Annual Conference of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) in Hollywood, Florida...

Leukemia

FDA Approves Mercaptopurine Oral Suspension for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

The ASCO Post  / May 15, 2014

On April 28, 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a 20 mg/mL oral suspension of mercaptopurine (Purixan) indicated for the treatment of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) as part of a combination regimen. Successive clinical trials have demonstrated that mercaptopurine ...

Issues in Oncology

ASCO Speaks Out on Release of Medicare Physician Payment Data

The ASCO Post  / May 1, 2014

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is deeply concerned about [the recent] release of Medicare physician payment data. ASCO is committed to the delivery of high-quality, high-value care for all people with cancer in the United States. This data release solely focuses attention on the do...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Releases Its First-Ever Report on the State of Cancer Care in America

Jo Cavallo  / April 15, 2014

On March 11, ASCO released its first-ever comprehensive assessment of the daunting challenges facing America’s ability to continue to deliver high-quality care to all patients with cancer. ASCO President Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, introduced the assessment at a Congressional news briefing in Washi...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

American College of Radiology Issues Statement on Budgetary Efforts to Curtail Imaging and Radiation Oncology Self-Referral

The ASCO Post  / April 15, 2014

The American College of Radiology (ACR) recently issued a statement applauding steps to reign in medical imaging and radiation oncology self-referral included in the President’s fiscal year 2015 budget. However, prior authorization for imaging services, also included in the FY2015 budget, is unneces...

Issues in Oncology

Cancer Research Funding Still Tight—and Getting Tighter

Margot J. Fromer  / April 15, 2014

Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), CEO of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), welcomed about 150 congressional staffers to a March briefing in Washington, DC, with a plea for increased federal funding. “Extraordinary progress is being made in cancer research today, as evidenced by the mo...

Issues in Oncology

Informed Consent: Not Just About Blood Tests and Procedures Anymore

Margot J. Fromer  / April 15, 2014  / 2014 NCPF Workshop: Contemporary Issues in Human Subjects Protection in Cancer Research

On February 24, the Institute of Medicine National Cancer Policy Forum convened a workshop, “Contemporary Issues in Human Subjects Protection in Cancer Research,” in Washington, DC. In his introduction to the workshop, Steven Piantadosi, MD, PhD, Director, Samuel Oschin Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sin...

Lung Cancer

Decision Time for Lung Cancer Screening in High‑Risk Populations

Ronald Piana  / April 15, 2014

For decades, dedicated members of the oncology community have fought to increase the nation’s focus on lung cancer prevention and treatment. Although smoking cessation initiatives have reduced cigarette consumption, lung cancer 5-year survival has remained stagnant at 15%, lagging far below most can...

Health-Care Policy

The FDA’s Bad Ad Program

The ASCO Post  / April 15, 2014

INSIDE THE BLACK BOX is an occasional column providing insight into the FDA and its policies and procedures. In this installment, Robert Dean, MBA, Director, and Michael Sauers, Deputy Director, of Division II in the FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion discuss the FDA’s Bad Ad program. The ...

Legislation
Health-Care Policy

Greatly Frustrated by Congressional Failure to Act on Sustainable Growth Rate

Statement by ASCO President Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP  / April 15, 2014

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is deeply frustrated by the failure of Congress to permanently repeal the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula used to set Medicare physician payments and passage of the 17th patch to the system. ASCO and the entire physician community worked...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

FDA Orders Cessation of Sale, Distribution of Four Tobacco Products

The ASCO Post  / March 15, 2014

FDA has issued orders to stop the further sale and distribution of four tobacco products currently on the market. The action marks the first time the FDA has used its authority under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act to order a manufacturer of currently available tobacco products...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Addresses Changes in Medicare for 2014

Ronald Piana  / March 15, 2014

Medicare patients make up 61% of new cancer cases in the United States, and as the population ages, that proportion is expected to rise to 70% by 2030. Over the past decade, the oncology community has been financially challenged by alterations in the Medicare payment system. To address the changes i...

Breast Cancer
Health-Care Policy

Affordable Care Act to Cover Chemoprevention for Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer

Alice Goodman  / March 15, 2014

On January 9, 2014, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, announced that under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, women at increased risk of breast cancer will be entitled to preventive medications without incurring out-of-pocket costs (with the pr...

Health-Care Policy

President Obama’s FY 2015 Budget Proposal

The ASCO Post  / March 15, 2014

[On March 4, 2014], President Obama released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2015. Among several cost-cutting measures designed to preserve Medicare solvency is a proposal to reduce reimbursement for life-sustaining cancer drugs. Currently, reimbursement to physicians for “Part B” drugs is based...

Legislation

Congress Agrees on Repeal of Sustainable Growth Rate

Ronald Piana  / March 1, 2014

The U.S. Congress recently did something rarely seen on Capitol Hill: Leaders from both sides of the aisle agreed on a piece of legislation. On February 6, 2014, the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees and the Senate Finance Committee announced its agreement on a bill—the SGR Rep...

Issues in Oncology

U.S. Government Accountability Office Issues Report on Drug Shortages

The ASCO Post  / March 1, 2014

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report evaluating drug shortages and the associated public health threats, including prolonged duration of a disease, permanent injury, and death.1 This report follows a recommendation by GAO in 2011 that the U.S. Food and Drug Admini...

Issues in Oncology

ASCO Applauds CVS Caremark’s Move to Stop Selling Tobacco

The ASCO Post  / March 1, 2014

CVS Caremark recently announced that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores across the United States by October 1, 2014, making CVS/pharmacy the first national pharmacy chain to take this step in support of the health and well-being of i...

Gynecologic Cancers

President’s Cancer Panel Issues Urgent Call to Action for HPV Vaccination

The ASCO Post  / March 1, 2014

Achieving widespread human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination is one of the most profound opportunities for cancer prevention, according to a report recently released by the President’s Cancer Panel.  The Panel’s report, Accelerating HPV Vaccine Uptake: Urgency for Action to Prevent Cancer, issues an ...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

The Surgeon General’s Report on Tobacco Turns 50: Much Success, Much Work Ahead

Ronald Piana  / February 15, 2014

On January 11, 2014, the nation commemorated the 50th anniversary of a document that transformed our public health landscape and has saved millions of lives: Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service. This groundbreaking report, which de...

Health-Care Policy

Major Cancer Advances in 2013 Highlight Importance of Federal Funding

Caroline McNeil  / February 1, 2014

About one-third of the most important clinical advances in cancer last year were made possible at least in part through federal funding, according to ASCO’s annual report on progress in cancer, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1 Significant Declines in Funding The report, “Clinical Ca...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

50th Anniversary of the First U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health

The ASCO Post  / February 1, 2014

“When the first Surgeon General’s Report was released in 1964, more than half of American men and over a third of women smoked and lung cancer had gone from an obscure disease to a leading cause of death. In issuing this pioneering report summarizing the known health risks of smoking, our nation’s r...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Surgeon General’s New Report Attributes Smoking as Cause of Death in More Than 20 Million Americans Over Past 50 Years

The ASCO Post  / February 1, 2014

According to a new Surgeon General’s report issued last month, more than 20 million Americans have died from smoking over the past 50 years. The new report concludes that cigarette smoking kills nearly half a million Americans a year, with an additional 16 million suffering from smoking-related cond...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Statement on Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer 

The ASCO Post  / January 15, 2014

Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, President of ASCO, commented recently on the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, co-authored by the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the North American Association of Central Canc...

Health-Care Policy

Statement by ASCO President Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP,  on ACS Report

The ASCO Post  / January 15, 2014

“The American Cancer Society [recently] issued a report showing a 20% decline in cancer death rates between 1991 and 2010, and estimating that 1.3 million deaths have been averted as a result of the decline.  “This is tremendous progress and a direct result of our nation’s commitment to cancer rese...

Health-Care Policy

IOM Makes Clinical Data Available for Research

Jo Cavallo  / January 15, 2014

In 1979, Congress mandated that an epidemiologic study be launched to evaluate the frequency and type of adverse health conditions experienced by military personal as a result of their exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam War. Called the Air Force Health Study (AFHS)...

Issues in Oncology

Patient-Reported Outcomes, a Central Component to Value and Rapid-Learning Systems

Ronald Piana  / December 15, 2013

With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, value became the operative word in assessing the success of health care, from outcomes to cost. To drive more value, the Affordable Care Act seeks to implement initiatives such as comparative effectiveness research that will...

Health-Care Policy

National Cancer Policy Summit: Setting Priorities for the Next 3 Years

Margot J. Fromer  / December 15, 2013  / 2013 National Cancer Policy Summit

Welcome to the meeting we hold every 3 years to choose our next projects,” said John Mendelsohn, MD, Chair of the National Cancer Policy Forum and Director of the Khalifa Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. “We have here a roomf...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

Improving Quality Measurement in Cancer Care: Policy Recommendations

Ronald Piana  / December 1, 2013  / 2013 Quality Care Symposium

Quality measurement—how we assess cost and effectiveness of cancer care—cannot be separated from policy decisions that have a profound influence on the overall health-care system. At the recent ASCO Quality Care Symposium, Jennifer L. Malin, MD, PhD, Medical Director for Oncology at WellPoint, Inc, ...

Cost of Care
Legislation

ASH as Part of 'NDD United' Releases Report on Effects of Sequestration 

The ASCO Post  / December 1, 2013

A new report recently released and supported by the American Society of Hematology (ASH) details the crippling effects of sequestration on programs that rely on discretionary federal funding, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In “Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sic...

Health-Care Policy

IOM Report Illuminates U.S. Cancer Care Crisis and Offers Framework for Change

Jo Cavallo  / November 15, 2013

In September, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies issued its report, Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis,1 published more than a decade after its first study on the quality of cancer care in the United States. The authors of the new...

Health-Care Policy

AACR Cancer Progress Report 2013 Highlights Critical Importance of Biomedical Research 

Ronald Piana  / November 1, 2013

On September 17, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) presented highlights of its 2013 Cancer Progress Report1 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. AACR Chief Executive Officer Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), opened the program with a double-edged message, first citing the break...

Health-Care Policy

For 2 Decades, Nancy Davenport-Ennis Has Worked to Ensure Access to Health Care for All Patients Diagnosed With Life-Threatening Illness 

Jo Cavallo  / October 15, 2013

As a young girl, Nancy Davenport-Ennis remembers hearing her parents tell stories about families struggling to pay their health-care expenses following a diagnosis of a serious illness like cancer. But it wasn’t until 3 decades later when she was coping with her own diagnosis of breast cancer and th...

Health-Care Policy

Straight Talk: The Future of Medical and Health Research 

Ronald Piana  / October 15, 2013

Nearly 200 scientists and stakeholders in the research community attended Research!America’s National Health Research Forum on September 12, at the Newseum’s Knight Conference Center in Washington, DC. Research!America’s President and CEO, Mary Woolley, opened the program. “The theme for this progra...

Sustainable Growth Rate Bill Advances in the House 

ASCO  / September 15, 2013

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee has unanimously approved the Medicare Patient Access and Quality Improvement Act of 2013, which replaces Medicare’s sustainable growth rate formula. The law would provide 5 years of stable Medicare payments beginning in 2014, with reimbursement rates incr...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Combining Community Practice and Health Policy Advocacy 

Ronald Piana  / September 1, 2013

Barbara L. McAneny, MD, is a board-certified medical oncologist/hematologist with a robust community practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. McAneny, who has held many leadership roles in oncology associations, became a delegate to the American Medical Association (AMA) from ASCO in 2002, was elect...

Cost of Care

Oncologists Speak Out Against the High Cost of Cancer Drugs 

Jo Cavallo  / August 15, 2013

That the United States spends twice as much on health care than other industrialized countries—about $2.8 trillion in 2012—without reaping appreciably better outcomes1 is not news. The topic has been dissected on the front pages of leading newspapers for years and was the subject of the entire featu...

Health-Care Policy

AACR Cautions Diminished NIH Funding Jeopardizes Ability to Eradicate Cancer Health Disparities

The ASCO Post  / August 15, 2013

Recently the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) hosted a congressional briefing to highlight the significance of federally funded biomedical research in improving our understanding of cancer health disparities and developing targeted interventions to eliminate them. Disproportionate Bu...

Global Cancer Care

Program Aims to Overcome Barriers to Early Cancer Care in Colombia 

Armando Sardi, MD, FACS, and Rachel Joseph, MPH  / August 15, 2013

According to a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s  GLOBOCAN project, one woman dies every minute from breast cancer and one woman dies every 2 minutes from cervical cancer.1 The majority of these deaths occur in developing countries, where access to health care is limited ...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

The Sunshine Act Calls for Greater Transparency in Industry-Doctor Relationships 

Ronald Piana  / August 15, 2013

Signed into law on March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act represents the most significant overhaul of the U.S. health-care system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. Because of the law’s sheer scope, parts of it still remain obfuscated by its 2,400 or so pages...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Urges Administration to Provide Clear Affordable Care Act Guidance on Protecting Patient Access to Clinical Trials

The ASCO Post  / July 25, 2013

ASCO has joined more than 50 other organizations in urging the Administration to issue regulations or guidance before January 2014 to ensure health plans implement an important provision of the Affordable Care Act that would remove a critical obstacle to patients interested in participating in resea...

Issues in Oncology
Legislation

Supreme Court Rules Human Genes May Not Be Patented 

Jo Cavallo  / July 10, 2013

On June 13, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that isolated human genes may not be patented. However, the creation of synthetic forms of DNA, known as complementary DNA (cDNA), is eligible for patent protection. The decision resolves the question brought before the Supreme Court justices in t...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

Accountable Care Organizations May Be at Risk for New Medical Liabilities 

Jo Cavallo  / July 10, 2013

The promotion of accountable care organizations, a crucial element in the Affordable Care Act, may result in liability risks, said H. Benjamin Harvey, MD, JD, a radiologist in the Department of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and I. Glenn Cohen, JD, Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

Sequestration's Impact on Cancer Care  

Jo Cavallo  / May 15, 2013

On March 1, the deficit-budget mechanism known as sequestration took effect, triggering $85 billion in across-the-board cuts to most federal agencies over the remaining 7 months in fiscal year 2013. The total federal deficit reduction budget under the Budget Control Act of 2011 calls for $1.2 trilli...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

Congress Must Reverse Devastating Budget Cuts to Cancer Care

The ASCO Post  / May 15, 2013

Sandra M. Swain, MD, FACP, ASCO President, issued the following statement on April 27, 2013: “Today, out of concern for public safety, Congress provided the Federal Aviation Administration enhanced flexibility in application of sequestration related cuts, including reversal of furlough requirements...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Disparities in Cancer Care: How A Deep South Community Overcame Them 

Caroline Helwick  / May 15, 2013

Racial inequities were a daily observation for Edward E. Partridge, MD, growing up in Alabama during the civil rights era. When he became a physician, he saw that these disparities extended into his own field, gynecologic oncology. He decided to do something about it. Dr. Partridge recently discusse...

Health-Care Policy

Rally for Medical Research Draws Thousands in Person and on Social Media 

Caroline McNeil  / May 1, 2013

In estimated 10,000 demonstrators filled the streets in front of Washington, DC’s historic Carnegie Library on April 8 to protest budget cuts at the National Institutes of Health. The Rally for Medical Research was held to “emphasize to our policymakers that medical research must become a national p...

Health-Care Policy

Implementing a National Cancer Clinical Trials System for the 21st Century 

Margot J. Fromer  / April 15, 2013  / 2013 NCPF Workshop: Implementing a National Cancer Clinical Trials System for the 21st Century

In March 2011, the National Cancer Policy Forum of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), in conjunction with ASCO, held a workshop to discuss a collaborative approach to making the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded clinical trials system more viable and productive. That workshop included discussion...

Health-Care Policy

Highlights of ACCC Annual Meeting Include Discussion of Trends Shaping the Future of Health Care 

Margot J. Fromer  / April 15, 2013  / 2013 ACCC Annual Meeting

The 39th Annual National Meeting of the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) was held in Washington, DC, in March. With a focus on business, economics, and policy, the program included the inauguration of a new ACCC President (see page 102), a keynote speech on the future of health care, a...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

AACR Briefs Congressional Staffers on Importance of Continued Funding for Research 

Margot J. Fromer  / April 15, 2013

As we all now know, the start of the sequestration prescribed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 was delayed until March 1, 2013, by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. With Congress unable to strike a deal, the mandatory reductions in Federal spending were triggered on March 1. Those reduction...

Health-Care Policy

Another Perspective on Accountable Care Organizations

Jonathan Schwartz, MD  / April 15, 2013

I read with great interest Dr. Richard Boxer’s editorial on accountable care organizations in the January 15 issue of The ASCO Post. Much of what he says is unfortunately true. There are several points that I would like to make, however. First of all, Dr. Boxer states that the “principle that defin...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Focus on the Medical Oncology Association of Southern California 

Jo Cavallo  / March 15, 2013

For more than 2 decades, the guiding principle of the Medical Oncology Association of Southern California (MOASC) has been to ensure the continuation of the private practice of medical oncology and to provide the highest quality care to cancer patients. Founded in 1990, MOASC is the largest oncology...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

Sequestration Will Have Shattering Impact on Entire U.S. Cancer Enterprise 

The ASCO Post  / March 15, 2013

March 1 marked the beginning of sequestration, the unprecedented automatic budget cuts that immediately take effect across the federal government—after months of futile negotiations by the President and Congress. Sequestration will have a shattering impact on the entire cancer enterprise in the Uni...

Cost of Care
Survivorship

Study Finds Young Cancer Survivors Often Skip Checkups

Jo Cavallo  / March 1, 2013

Athough the majority of the more than 69,000 adolescents and young adults (AYAs) diagnosed with cancer each year will survive their disease, many of them will experience interruptions in their education and a derailment in their career tract, curtailing their lifetime earning potential and reducing ...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

The Doctor Who Championed Patient Navigation in Harlem 

Ronald Piana  / February 15, 2013

After completing his residency at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Harold P. Freeman, MD, arrived at Harlem Hospital Center in 1967, where the overwhelming majority of his patients presented with late-stage disease. That early experience with underserved patients would shape his career as one...

Health-Care Policy

Health Insurance Issues for Young Cancer Survivors

ASCO  / February 1, 2013

The latest addition to Cancer.Net’s video series for young adults, Moving Forward: Perspectives from Survivors and Doctors, deals with the health insurance issues young adult cancer survivors may face. This video series is a collaboration between Cancer.Net and LIVESTRONG. Each set of videos in the ...

Health-Care Policy

Does Health-care Quality Translate to Value?

Ronald Piana  / January 15, 2013  / 2012 Quality Care Symposium

On March 23rd, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, enacting sweeping change in our health-care system. An underlying theme of the legislation is the realignment of our payment system so that it places value over volume of services. At ASCO’s first Qu...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

Last-minute ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Deal by Congress Again Averts Medicare Cuts to Physicians

The ASCO Post  / January 15, 2013

A last-minute patch to the sustainable growth rate formula included in the “fiscal cliff” deal averted massive cuts to oncologists who care for and treat Medicare patients. “This end-of-year crisis management once again demonstrates the critical need for fundamental reform of the Medicare reimbursem...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

President Obama Signs High-mortality Cancer Bill into Law

The ASCO Post  / January 15, 2013

Just hours before the end of the 112th Congress, constitutional deadline for approval of a bill passed by that Congress, President Barack Obama signed into law the first legislation requiring comprehensive plans of research action for high-mortality cancers, with lung and pancreatic cancers given pr...

Issues in Oncology

NCI Director Assesses Barriers to Faster Progress in Cancer Research

Ronald Piana  / January 15, 2013

At a National Press Club media event in Washington, DC, on September 25, 2012, National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director Harold E. Varmus, MD, addressed a group of 75 reporters and officials. His discussion focused on impediments—biologic, economic, institutional, and cultural—to faster cancer resear...

Issues in Oncology
Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

The Ethics of Rationing Cancer Care

Jo Cavallo  / December 15, 2012

Should cost be a consideration when deciding on treatment for patients with cancer, and if so, what kind of ethical dilemma does that pose for oncologists? With U.S. spending on oncology drugs expected to climb more than 20% annually over the next decade—reaching $173 billion by 2020, according to t...

Health-care Crisis Reconsidered

Jonathan Schwartz, MD  / December 15, 2012

As an oncologist in private practice, I usually read with great interest the many articles in The ASCO Post on issues regarding the politics of oncology practice. These articles deal with the major topics of the day, ranging from the high cost of oncologic care to shortages of generic drugs, to alle...

AACR’s Cancer Progress Report 2012 Highlights Advances, Challenges, Opportunities

Margot J. Fromer  / November 1, 2012

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) recently released its Cancer Progress Report for 2012,1 providing a snapshot of the major advances in cancer research, and highlighting the great need for continued funding for the field. “It is a new day for cancer research and cancer patients,” ...

Issues in Oncology

Despite Progress, Chemotherapy Drug Shortages Still Vex the Oncology Community

Ronald Piana  / October 15, 2012

During the first week of November 2011, President Obama signed an Executive Order directing the FDA to take steps to help resolve the drug shortages that were affecting patient care across the country. The oncology community was hit especially hard; many of the drug shortfalls were generic chemother...

Global Cancer Care

Viral Infection and Liver Cancer: A Global Health Crisis

Ronald Piana  / October 15, 2012

It is estimated that at least 15% of all cancers worldwide can be attributed to infectious etiologies, mostly viral infections. At this year’s ASCO Annual Meeting, an intriguing session on virally induced cancers provided critical clues that could be of real practical value in advancing our battle a...

Biomedical Research Faces Imminent $2.4 Billion Budget Cut Unless Congress Acts

The ASCO Post  / September 15, 2012

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) faces a significant budget reduction in January 2013 due to automatic across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration, required under the federal Budget Control Act of 2011. The estimated $2.4 billion NIH cut could result in 700 to 2,300 fewer research grants fu...

Prostate Cancer
Health-Care Policy

Senate Legislation Urges Federal Research Support to Improve Early Detection of Prostate Cancer

The ASCO Post  / August 15, 2012

U.S. Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA) led unanimous passage of Senate Resolution 493 to recognize prostate cancer as an epidemic striking African American men disproportionately, with 250% higher mortality and 60% higher incidence. This bipartisan legislation urges federal agencies to support research f...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

As Conflicting Guidelines Evolve, Experts Continue to Debate the Merits of Cancer Screening

Jo Cavallo  / August 15, 2012

In the 1930s and 1940s, when the American Cancer Society [ACS] first brought forth the message that early cancer detection saves lives, it was a broad brushstroke and an appropriate message. The problem now is that new technology enables us to find [tumors that would never progress to invasive cance...

Health-Care Policy

The Affordable Care Act Stands: Now What?

Ronald Piana  / July 15, 2012  / 2012 ASCO Annual Meeting

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law—a hotly contested bill that enacted sweeping changes to the U.S. health-care system. The debate over the Affordable Care Act continued all the way to the Supreme Court, spearheaded by the case Florida v...

Health-Care Policy

Three Experts Weigh In on the Health-care Reform Legislation

Ronald Piana  / July 15, 2012

In light of the Supreme Court ruling, The ASCO Post asked three nationally regarded experts about how the Affordable Care Act will affect the practice of oncology. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania: This is an overwhelmingly p...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Reexamines the Oncology Workforce Shortage

Jo Cavallo  / June 15, 2012

A study commissioned by ASCO in 2006 predicted a significant shortage of medical and gynecologic oncologists in the United States by 2020. As a result, the organization created the Workforce Implementation Group to develop recommendations to stem the projected workforce shortfall and ensure ongoing ...

Global Cancer Care
Pain Management
Palliative Care

Untreated Cancer Pain Remains a Significant Global Problem

Ronald Piana  / May 15, 2012

“Physicians are afraid of morphine … Doctors [in Kenya] are so used to patients dying in pain … they think that this is how you must die. They are suspicious if you don’t die this way — [and feel] that you died prematurely.” —Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. John Weru of Nairobi Hospice, Kenya...

Issues in Oncology

ASCO President Michael P. Link, MD, Makes Statement on Passage of FDA Safety and Innovation Act

The ASCO Post  / May 15, 2012

ASCO President Michael P. Link, MD, recently issued the following statement in response to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s Passage of the FDA’s Safety and Innovation Act: “ASCO commends the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for taking steps to addre...

Issues in Oncology

Novel Initiative to Address Oncology Drug Crisis

Alice Goodman  / May 15, 2012

Much has been written about the oncology drug shortage crisis in the United States. In the spirit of being part of the solution to that problem, a group of oncologists has formed the Citizen’s Oncology Foundation (COF). The goal of the start-up not-for-profit association is two-pronged: to find solu...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Update on Oncology Drug Shortage: Better for Now, But Permanent Solutions Must Address Underlying Issues

Charlotte Bath  / May 15, 2012

Over the past few years, drug shortages in the United States have been on the rise, involving hundreds of agents, many of which are lifesaving medications for patients with cancer. In recent months, the FDA has taken steps to alleviate some of the most critical oncology drug shortages. “We should a...

Lung Cancer

Nearly 800,000 Lung Cancer Deaths Averted during 1975–2000 Due to Decline in Smoking Rates

The ASCO Post  / May 1, 2012

The cumulative impact of changes in smoking behavior that started in the mid-1950s averted approximately 795,851 U.S. lung cancer deaths, 552,574 among men and 243,277 among women from 1975 to 2000, according to a report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The researchers also estimated...

Health-Care Policy

ACCC Meeting Focuses on Affordable Care Act: Its Future, and What It Might Accomplish

Margot J. Fromer  / April 15, 2012  / 2012 ACCC Annual Meeting

The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) mid-March Annual Meeting devoted several sessions to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Will it still be here after the Supreme Court decides its fate? If so, how much of it will survive, and how will it affect oncology practice? In la...

Issues in Oncology

ACCC Releases Survey on ‘Oncology Medical Home’

The ASCO Post  / April 15, 2012

The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) released findings from a survey that explores how community-based cancer care programs view the concept of the “oncology medical home”—a patient-centered model for coordinated care, whereby payers would reimburse physicians for services that keep pa...

Health-Care Policy

Rising Costs in Radiation Oncology Linked to Medicare Coverage

Ronald Piana  / March 15, 2012

In the ongoing debate over how to control rising cancer care costs, it is vital to identify usage patterns of expensive new technologies. A recent study examined the relationship between Medicare reimbursement and the increasing use of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).1 The ASCO Post spo...

Health-Care Policy

AACR Urges Congress to Maintain, Preferably Increase, Cancer Research Funding

Margot J. Fromer  / March 15, 2012

December 23, 2011, marked the 40th anniversary of the National Cancer Act. To mark that occasion, on February 2, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) held a Congressional briefing, attended by about 100 legislative aides, to remind Congress that the war on cancer is far from over. Sig...

Health-Care Policy

A Visionary Call for the ‘Creative Destruction’ of Medicine

Ronald Piana  / March 1, 2012

According to nationally regarded cardiologist and geneticist Eric Topol, MD, Chief Academic Officer of Scripps Health, the next frontier of the digital revolution can create exponentially better health care. Dr. Topol, who is also Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and Professor...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Drug Shortages Hit Oncology Hard: Experts Weigh in on Challenges and Solutions

Ronald Piana  / February 15, 2012

Periodic drug shortages are an unavoidable reality in our complicated pharmaceutical supply chain; however, over the past several years, drug shortages have expanded to crisis levels, putting vulnerable patients at risk. In 2010, there were 178 drug shortages reported to the FDA, 132 of which were s...

Cost of Care

Cost of Care: A Multidisciplinary Responsibility

Daniel A. Vorobiof, MD  / February 15, 2012

I read the interview with Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (The ASCO Post, December 15, 2011) with much interest, as the health-care policy problems that America is currently experiencing have plagued other countries for some time. Despite proactive measures and attempts to amend those situations elsewhere, litt...

Issues in Oncology

Shortening the Learning Curve of the U.S. Health-care System

Ronald Piana  / January 15, 2012  / 2011 ASCO Health IT/EHR [Health Information Technology/Electronic Health Records] Symposium

If we are able to harness the full potential of digital technologies, computerized registries, databases, and the Web, could we solve many of the current woes of our sluggish and costly health-care system? Yes, according to Lynn Etheredge, a consultant with the Rapid Learning Project at the George W...

Issues in Oncology

The Newly Diagnosed Patient with Cancer and Access to Care

Caroline Helwick  / January 1, 2012  / 2011 ASCO Annual Meeting

A study presented at the 2011 ASCO Annual Meeting raised concerns that newly diagnosed cancer patients are having trouble seeing an oncologist. Interviews with several cancer centers and community practices, however, suggest that the process runs smoothly, for the most part. Majority of Patients Co...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

A Conversation with Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD

Jo Cavallo  / December 15, 2011

Last September, Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, a leading scholar in bioethics and health-care policy, was named the Diane v.S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor and Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. His appointment will be shared between ...

Issues in Oncology

Improving Quality and Safety with Health Information Technology

Ronald Piana  / December 15, 2011  / 2011 ASCO Health IT/EHR [Health Information Technology/Electronic Health Records] Symposium

A well-documented flaw in paper-based health care is the propensity for medical errors. According to Blackford Middleton, MD, MPH, MSc, implementing clinical decision support software can decrease medical error, improve outcomes, and lower the costs of care. Presenting a session titled “Improving Qu...

Issues in Oncology

Oncologists Need Hands-on Approach in Developing Next Generation of EHRs

Ronald Piana  / December 15, 2011  / 2011 ASCO Health IT/EHR [Health Information Technology/Electronic Health Records] Symposium

The electronic health record system offered by vendors is more like a filing cabinet, not the sophisticated, interactive database needed by busy oncologists, according to Kevin S. Hughes, MD, FACS, Co-Director, Avon Comprehensive Breast Evaluation Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, who presente...

Issues in Oncology

Need for Data Capture Crucial, Now and After ‘Meaningful Use’

Cindy Chavez  / December 15, 2011

It’s never enough. Whether it is the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), other payers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, or specialty companies, one can never provide enough data. When will it all end? The problem, or the opportunity for many, is that it won’t end. The need for discrete ...

Health-Care Policy

Medicare Reimbursement to Physicians: Déjà Vu All Over Again

Nora Janjan, MD, MPSA, MBA, and John Goodman, PhD  / December 15, 2011

In February 2011, The ASCO Post published an opinion piece (“Congress and the ‘Doctor Fix’: Looking Back, Looking Ahead”) about the ping-pong of legislative continuing resolutions to avert a 21.3% cut in physician reimbursement. These continuing resolutions were necessary because the Affordable Care...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Supports the United Nations Political Declaration on Noncommunicable Diseases

Jo Cavallo  / November 15, 2011

In September, government leaders from around the world as well as representatives from civil society, the private sector and academia gathered at the United Nations in New York for the first-ever summit on the growing economic and human crisis posed by noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), especially in ...

Issues in Oncology

Do We Need the USPSTF?

Derek Raghavan, MD, PhD  / November 1, 2011

Like most of the folks reading this commentary, I’m a taxpayer. Although I sometimes become impatient with the strategic games on Capitol Hill, I basically appreciate that government helps many things to work, and some of them even work well. However, there are aspects of government function that d...

Health-Care Policy

AACR Issues Landmark Report on Cancer Progress

Ronald Piana  / November 1, 2011

At a recent press conference in Washington, DC, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) assembled luminaries from the cancer research and care communities to discuss the salient points of the association’s newly released progress report on the current and future state of cancer research ...

Cost of Care

New Technologies Are Driving Up Costs: Are They Worth the Price?

Ronald Piana  / November 1, 2011

Expensive new cancer therapies and technologies are alluring for both physicians and their patients. Prostate cancer, because of the sheer volume of cases and the variability of treatment options, serves as a dynamic disease model in the ongoing debate over how to curb spending and maintain high-qua...

Global Cancer Care
Health-Care Policy

Tobacco Remains the Dominant Global Risk Factor Underlying Cancer

Margot Fromer  / November 1, 2011

Despite clear evidence that tobacco causes at least 18 types of cancer, as well as many other diseases, many people all over the world smoke or chew tobacco, or are exposed to secondhand smoke. Although smoking among Americans has declined slowly but steadily over the past 40 years, it remains the l...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Issues Policy Statement to Reduce Cancer Care Disparities

Jo Cavallo  / October 15, 2011

Last August, ASCO issued the policy statement, “Opportunities in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to Reduce Cancer Care Disparities” in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1 The statement builds on ASCO’s policy on disparities in cancer care released in 2009. It calls on both the oncology...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Oncology Drug Shortage: An Unintended Consequence of the Medicare Modernization Act and Free-market Forces?

Ronald Piana  / September 15, 2011

Oncology has a drug shortage problem, and the FDA says that it is getting worse. Drug shortages are not a new phenomenon, but over the past few years we have seen a rapidly growing number of shortfalls that are limiting providers’ ability to care for their patients. In 2004, the FDA reported 58 drug...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Developing Targeted-agent Combinations: Business and Regulatory Issues, and Legal Obstacles

Margot J. Fromer  / September 15, 2011

The Institute of Medicine’s National Cancer Policy Forum recently convened a public workshop, “Facilitating Collaborations to Develop Combination Investigational Cancer Therapies,” to address the promises and challenges involved in the development of combination oncologic drug therapies. In the Sept...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Congressional Hearing Highlights Oncology Drug Shortages

Margot Fromer  / September 1, 2011

Some oncology drugs are in such short supply that the situation is now critical, with almost 200 drugs affected—triple that of 2003. This was the background described by speakers at a July 2011 congressional briefing sponsored by the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), ASCO, and other ca...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

Rising Costs of Cancer Care: It's More Than Drugs

Ronald Piana  / August 15, 2011

All parties—the government, payers, and consumers—agree that, left unchecked, rising health-care costs will eventually hamstring vital portions of our delivery system. For example, Medicare, which covers more than 50% of the nation’s patients with cancer, is marching headlong toward insolvency. Larg...

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