LETTER TO J. DENNIS HASTERT AND
September 12, 2000
The Honorable J. Dennis
Dear Mr. Speaker:
As representatives of the cancer patient, survivor, provider and research communities, the undersigned organizations are writing to thank you for your commitment to pass a Patients' Bill of Rights this year. The cancer community has a well-known interest in the clinical trials provision. As negotiations continue, we urge your support for a strong provision that includes access to those trials privately sponsored by the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries.
Privately-funded trials are among those most sought after by people with cancer because they feature the exciting new technologies that may offer the most hope of extending survival or improving quality of life. Their quality cannot be questioned as they are under review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
It is worth noting that the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) has just issued a proposed National Coverage Decision that extends coverage of clinical trials under Medicare not only to government-sponsored research but also to trials by industry that proceed under an investigational exemption from FDA. This administrative decision was reached after the President issued an Executive Memorandum instructing that Medicare cover such trials, both those publicly funded and those funded by the private sector. If this scope of coverage is available for Medicare beneficiaries, we believe it unquestionably is appropriate for those enrolled in private health plans.
If the universe of privately-sponsored clinical trials is omitted from coverage, the Congress will have done only half of the job that is needed to address the concerns of cancer patientsand others with serious or life-threatening diseasesabout access to potentially life-extending clinical trials. As you proceed with deliberations over the Patients' Bill of Rights, your support for this critical enhancement will be greatly appreciated.
Cancer Leadership Council
for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support, and Education
© 2001-2002 Cancer Leadership Council. All rights reserved.