UPDATE: State Assembly sending amended oral chemo bill back to S - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: State Assembly sending amended oral chemo bill back to Senate

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The state Assembly has passed an amended oral chemotherapy bill that would make chemo drugs in pill form more affordable for cancer patients.

The measure as amended by the Assembly would place a maximum $100 monthly co-pay for a 30-day supply of chemotherapy bills. The bill passed 75-18 Friday morning and will now head back to Senate before it can be signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker.

Assembly speaker Robin Vos released the following statement after the amended bill passed Assembly.

"I am proud that we found a way to make life-saving medications more affordable and accessible. We are giving patients and their doctors the freedom to choose the best cancer treatment without the burden of an overwhelming price tag."


*****

MADISON (WKOW) -- Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos announced Thursday an amended oral chemotherapy bill, designed to make chemo drugs in pill form more affordable for cancer patients.

Vos made the announcement before the Assembly went into session Thursday afternoon on the chamber's final scheduled day in this legislative session.

Gov. Scott Walker, cancer advocates and the bill's Republican sponsor in the Senate had said previously they didn't want any changes to be made to the measure, which passed in a 30-2 vote in the Senate on Tuesday. But on Thursday, Vos said he thought Republicans in the Senate would support the amended version, and Governor Walker's spokesperson said the governor would sign the bill with the co-pay requirement.

The amendment requires cancer patients to pay a $100 co-pay for a 30-day supply of the chemotherapy pills.

Cancer patient advocates still support the change, despite the change. For instance, The Wisconsin Chair of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society told 27 News his organization thought a $100 co-pay was reasonable.  The amendment also moved insurance companies from being opposed to the bill to neutral, according to Vos. Health insurers had opposed the bill because they said it would drive up their costs.

The bill the Senate passed required health insurance companies to charge the same for chemotherapy drugs in pill form, which can be taken at home, as they do for the less expensive intravenous treatments administered at hospitals.

One Republican in the Assembly says the co-pay requirement is common in the 29 other states with similar oral chemotherapy laws.

The bill would take effect in January if passed and signed into law.

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