Legislative Victory for Texas Cancer Patients

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs law to help all cancer patients access cutting-edge medical advancements

If we don’t have fully enrolled clinical trials with a diverse pool of patients, life sustaining treatments are simply NOT possible. We appreciate the work that's been done in Texas and other states.”

— Dana Dornsife

DANVILLE, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, June 18, 2019 /EINPresswire.com/ — Lazarex Cancer Foundation applauds Texas lawmakers for passing a law to break barriers to cancer clinical trials and provide equal access to potentially life-saving breakthrough medical advancements.

Sponsored by Reps. Charles Creighton, Tan Parker, and Valoree Swanson, HB 3147 clarifies that providing reimbursement to patients is not considered inducement or undue influence and that nonprofit organizations may provide reimbursement for patients’ travel expenses to a clinical trial. This action opens the door to cancer patients who want to take part in clinical trials that provide advanced treatments but may not have the personal funds to travel to the trial site.

A national study in 2016 found that patient households making less than $50,000 annually were almost 30 percent less likely to participate in clinical trials. Further studies show only 5 percent of cancer patients enroll in clinical trials and that minority patients are a fraction of that. This disparity threatens one of the most basic ethical underpinnings of clinical research: the requirement that the benefits of research be made available equitably to all eligible individuals.

Meanwhile, some corporations, individuals, public and private foundations, health care providers, and other stakeholders are hesitant to contribute to, or accept funds from, programs meant to alleviate financial burdens faced by patients who wish to participate in clinical trials. This is despite the fact that the FDA issued guidance in 2018 clarifying that reimbursing patients for participation in a cancer clinical trial is not considered coercion or inducement.

Lazarex Cancer Foundation has been engaged in intensive efforts at the state and federal levels to solve this problem.

Texas joins California and Pennsylvania in taking action to make it easier and affordable for patients battling cancer to participate in the clinical trials that might be their best chance for survival. HB 3147, set to go into effect Sept. 1, also allows the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas to allocate from its existing funds to reimburse cancer clinical trial patients’ travel expenses.

Lazarex Cancer Foundation Founder Dana Dornsife says, “We are thrilled to be making progress with this important issue and grateful to Governor Abbott and the Texas legislators who sponsored this important life-saving bill. If we don’t have fully enrolled clinical trials with a diverse pool of patients, life sustaining treatments are simply NOT possible. Clinical trials are the pathway to new treatments. But when you have only five percent of cancer patients enrolling in clinical trials and about 50 percent of clinical trials failing because they can’t enroll enough patients, the pathway is blocked. That’s why Lazarex appreciates the work that has been done in Texas and other states. And we aren’t done. We will continue to raise this issue across the country.”

All cancer treatments must complete a series of clinical trials before becoming eligible for FDA approval. Many cancer patients for whom standard treatment has failed are eligible for potentially life-saving clinical trials; however, most aren’t aware of the option or must decide between living expenses and hope.

Lazarex is the only non-profit in the United States that assists patients with finding clinical trials and reimbursing them for the travel costs to get to those clinical trials. In its 13 years, Lazarex has helped more than 4,500 patients access clinical trials.

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Laura Evans Manatos
Laura Evans Media
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Source: EIN Presswire