August 7, 2009
The Lupus Foundation of America Applauds New Legislation that Caps Out-of-Pocket Drug Costs
Provides Protection for People with Lupus and other Chronic Diseases
WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) President and Chief Executive Officer, Sandra C. Raymond, issued the following statement regarding S.1630 "The Affordable Access to Prescription Medications Act of 2009" introduced on Thursday, August 6, 2009 by Senator John (Jay) D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV).
"We support and applaud Senator Rockefeller for this important bill which will provide all Americans with vastly improved access to life-saving medications. The proposed legislation imposes a $200 cap on the amount a person could be charged for any one prescription, and a $500 cap on the total amount an individual could be charged for all medications during any given month. This is critical to controlling costs for people with lupus, as a past survey has shown that more than 60 percent of patients take five or more medications.
"It has been 50 years since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a medication for lupus. There are several potential new treatments in the near-term pipeline that may provide a better quality of life for people with lupus. But these anticipated new treatments will mean nothing if people with lupus are not able to access them because they are cost-prohibitive. For example, some people with multiple sclerosis, another autoimmune disorder, may pay out-of-pocket in excess of $800 a month for access to new medications.
"Studies have also shown that patients will avoid filling prescriptions, skip doses, or cut pills in half because of costs. Stopping medication can lead to greater disease severity, and for people with lupus, could result in organ failure. In addition, for people with chronic conditions it can often result in hospitalization leading to greater overall health care costs for both patients and society. For patients with serious or life-threatening conditions or for an individual with multiple co-morbid conditions, this legislation will provide greater access and affordability for prescribed treatments.
"We encourage everyone to join us in supporting this important piece of legislation by contacting their Senators and asking them to sign on as a co-sponsor to the legislation. At the Lupus Foundation of America we will do our part to ensure support for this important legislation and watch with great interest as it moves through the United States Congress."
Lupus is an acute and chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system is unbalanced, causing inflammation and tissue damage to virtually any organ in the body. Its health effects include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, miscarriages, and organ failure. Ninety percent of the people with lupus are women, and it is two to three times more common among African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, and Asians. Lupus is unpredictable and potentially fatal, yet no satisfactory treatment or cure exists.
About the LFA
The LFA is the foremost national nonprofit voluntary health organization dedicated to finding the causes of and cure for lupus, and providing support, services, and hope to all people affected by lupus. Founded in 1977, the LFA has a nationwide network of nearly 300 chapters and support groups and operates programs of research, education, and advocacy.
SOURCE Lupus Foundation of America