Statement of Lymphoma Research Foundation on Access to Treatment
July 20, 2022 – Americans diagnosed with lymphoma have more hope of effective treatment and high quality of life than ever before. The nation has seen progress in the fight against cancer because of cancer prevention efforts, more effective screening and early diagnosis, and demonstrative advances in treatment of cancer. People with lymphoma have benefited significantly from innovation in cancer therapies, including immunotherapies and other new treatments. Lymphoma patients have also benefited from the enhanced understanding of lymphoma as many different diseases, which has led to targeted therapies.
Many lymphoma survivors experience serious adverse effects of treatment, including late and long-term treatment effects and financial toxicity related to their care. Recent studies have found that cancer patients often delay start of treatment because they cannot afford the cost-sharing for treatment, and investigative reporting has revealed the crisis of medical debt burdening many cancer patients. Even after active treatment, lymphoma patients may face obstacles to receiving survivorship care that includes appropriate monitoring and follow-up care.
Policymakers in Washington, DC, and state capitols are considering measures to address the cost of health care, including prescription drugs, and to address insurance adequacy issues. As debate on these initiatives intensifies, we urge that policymakers consider the needs of people with lymphoma and lymphoma survivors. We recommend that:
- Initiatives related to prescription drug affordability be carefully balanced to protect affordable access to prescription drugs and incentives for ongoing innovation leading to development of life-saving therapies;
- Efforts to improve third-party insurance coverage protect patients from financial toxicity while they are in treatment and sustain the affordability of insurance coverage in the future;
- Initiatives to improve quality of care focus on access to cutting-edge therapy and on availability of symptom management from the time of diagnosis through long-term survivorship; and
- Legislative and regulatory efforts to improve cancer care be informed by the experiences of people with lymphoma, as they battle day-to-day to receive quality cancer care and manage their disease across its full trajectory.