Clinical Trials Agreement
Hollings Cancer Center Leads the Way on
Voluntary Agreement to Maintain Coverage for Cancer Patient Care Costs
Columbia, SC — Legislators, patient advocacy and health care provider organizations came together today at the State House to celebrate an agreement with insurance companies that ensures the coverage of routine patient care costs for patients enrolled in cancer clinical trials. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia now require this coverage.
Unfortunately, clinical trials participation rates among adult cancer patients have been traditionally low. One major barrier to increasing the participation rate is the potential for a patient to lose insurance coverage for routine patient care when he or she enrolls in a clinical trial – a barrier removed today in South Carolina.
“Nationally, just three to five percent of cancer patients enroll in clinical trials, a low number that we believe is often due to reimbursement barriers,” said Andrew S. Kraft, MD, director of the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina. “This agreement means that thousands of cancer patients can consider clinical trials as an option and not fear being denied because of the costs of standard procedures.”
For patients fighting cancer, clinical trials are especially critical, as many of the most dramatic strides in cancer treatment have been made in a clinical trial setting. However, to continue these advances, access to these cutting-edge treatments must be increased for patients.
“Clinical trials often offer the best treatment available – and the best hope for a cure – for cancer patients fighting to defeat their disease and save their lives,” said Don Simmons, executive director of the South Carolina Cancer Alliance. “Thanks to the strong leadership of Representative Bill Sandifer and Senator Wes Hayes, we have increased access to these groundbreaking treatments for all South Carolinians.”
The South Carolina Cancer Alliance played a critical role in the negotiations with lawmakers and insurance companies to finalize the agreement. Supporting Partners of the Alliance include the American Cancer Society, Hollings Cancer Center at MUSC, the South Carolina Hospital Association, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the American Lung Association, the South Carolina Medical Association, the South Carolina Oncology Society, the South Carolina Ovarian Cancer Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.