CA: Help more cancer patients in California get access to life saving medications


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Please Vote Yes on SB310 (Rubio)

Dear [Decision Maker],

Cancer patients can spend thousands of dollars on life-saving medications every year. The cost is often prohibitive and can take months for patients to access the proper medications to begin their first round of treatment. At times, cancer patients have cancer treatment medications they will not use for a variety of reasons, including, but are not limited to, a lack of tolerance for the medication due to the side effects.

Physicians and patients can quickly discover after a brief trial period if the original medications need to be stopped and other medications need to be prescribed. This leaves cancer patients with unused, unneeded, high-cost, and high-quality medications. Meanwhile, some patients must wait weeks or even months for insurance companies to approve their cancer drugs.

Existing law authorizes a county to establish a voluntary drug repository and distribution program to distribute surplus medications through a surplus medication collection and distribution intermediary, licensed by the California State Board of Pharmacy.

In 2005, the Legislature passed SB 798, which allowed counties to establish programs to dispense donated, unused medications. This bill was limited to county-run or contracted pharmacies. Cancer medications are not included in these programs, and these limitations have resulted in Santa Clara as the only county to establish such a program.

SB 310 will create a cancer medication donation and redistribution program that will allow cancer patients to donate their unused oral anti-cancer medications to patients in need. The program will be coordinated by the prescribing physician and regulated by the State of California.

I urge you to please vote yes on SB310 (Rubio) when it comes before you in the Assembly Health committee to help more cancer patients in California get access to the life saving medications they need.

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