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News & Advocacy

State Update: 4th Annual Arthritis Advocacy & Access Day Focuses on Step Therapy

posted: May 1, 2017

Over 30 Ohio Association of Rheumatology (OAR) and Arthritis Foundation (AF) advocates from around Ohio gathered at the Capitol in Columbus on Thursday, May 4 to educate lawmaker’s on their legislative priorities.

Another OAR advocate and board member, Dr. Elizabeth Roter, discussed personal stories about the patients she has encountered that have all been negatively impacted by the states’ current step therapy protocols.

House Bill 72 and Senate Bill 56 both limit step therapy protocols to protect patients from the misuse of fail-first policies. OAR advocates met with both committee chairs to persuade support in favor of the legislation and encouraged the bill to be called for a vote before the end of spring session.


While the step therapy legislation was the main focus of the visits, OAR members brought up several other issues with lawmakers in hopes of igniting interest for next session.

Issues included:
  • Non-Medical Switching: Legislation that prevents insurers from forcing medically-stable patients to switch medications for non-medical reasons. Example: Patient signs-up for health plan, finds a drug that works for them and then the health plan tells that patient (in the middle of the plan year) their drug is no longer on the formulary or it has moved to a different tier or specialty tier (too costly).
  • Commercial Activity Tax (CAT): Legislation would amend the current CAT language by removing “with cancer”, making the tax exemption equal for all physicians that treat significant patient conditions with complex medicines. Current CAT Statue: “Receipts realized from administering anti-neoplastic drugs and other cancer chemotherapy, biologicals, therapeutic agents, and supportive drugs in a physician's office to patients with cancer.”
  • Transparency in Drug Pricing (PBMs): Educating lawmakers about the need for transparency surrounding the rebate system and how patients are paying the list price for drugs while PBMs are contracting a discounted price that goes back into their pocket instead of the patients’.

For a complete recap on the advocacy day and legislative priorities, please visit the advocacy section of OAR website.