COLUMBUS—Senate President Larry Obhof
(R-Medina) announced today that the Senate recently passed Senate Bill 252
, prohibiting "fail first" coverage (commonly referred to as step therapy) of drugs used to treat stage four advanced metastatic cancer. President Obhof co-sponsored the bill, which passed the Senate unanimously.
“Senate Bill 252 will provide relief to cancer patients throughout Ohio,” said Obhof. “Doctors should be determining the best course of treatment for their patients—those decisions should not be made by middlemen like PBMs.”
Metastatic cancer is a form of cancer that has spread from its point of origin to other parts of the body, including nearby tissues and lymph nodes. Senate Bill 252 would prohibit a health benefit plan in Ohio from requiring the “fail first” approach for patients battling such cancers.
Under the “fail first” approach, rather than providing a patient’s physician-prescribed treatment, middlemen like health plans and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) require patients to use other drugs first in order to save costs. This often involves the use of older, less effective medications. Older treatments can actually result in higher overall medical costs, because patients are required to “fail” on cheaper medications before they are permitted to follow their physicians’ original treatment plans. The fail first approach also costs patients valuable time as their cancers spread.
“This bill removes barriers to timely treatment and helps patients face one less challenge as they navigate a cancer diagnosis,” said Obhof. “It puts the decision-making back into the hands of doctors, where it belongs.”
Senate Bill 252 will now be sent to the House for further consideration.