Lewis to Chair House Select Committee on Step Therapy

Raleigh, NC –House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) announced the House Select Committee on Step Therapy today and appointed Rep. David R. Lewis (R-Harnett) as chairman. The House Select Committee will study the practice of step therapy, or fail-first protocols, whereby patients are forced to try and fail on a series of treatments before they are given access to the medication recommended by their physician.

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“As an advocate for an efficient and effective healthcare delivery system, I am proud to announce the creation of a committee that will focus on ensuring quality access to healthcare,” said Speaker Moore. “David is a true advocate for patients and affordable healthcare, and I am confident that he will do an outstanding job in leading this study committee."

The House Select Committee will study the prescription benefit management tool known as step therapy to assess the impact on patient access to care. They will consider the savings achieved by utilization of the practice, consider potential abusive practices, and perform a cost benefit analysis on patient protections that could be implemented to curb abuses.

“Step therapy and fail-first protocols have become increasingly pervasive tactics to discourage access to the most effective treatments for multiple sclerosis, diabetes, psoriasis, arthritis and a range of other chronic and even life-threatening medical conditions,” said Rep. Lewis. “Instead of taking the treatment originally prescribed by their doctors, patients across North Carolina are being required to try and fail on a variety of less effective medications. Meanwhile, their conditions can worsen or even require hospitalization.  We must protect North Carolinians by making sure treatment decisions stay in the hands of the physicians and their patients."

In addition, the committee shall assess the impact step therapy has on access to abuse-deterrent opioid analgesics.  The misuse and abuse of prescription opioids is a serious problem affecting families across our nation.  The estimated costs to our nation associated with healthcare, law enforcement, and lost work productivity exceed $56 billion a year

Rep. Lewis, “Prescription drug abuse continues to harm families and employers, and remains a strain on law enforcement.  I am aware of the development of abuse-deterrent opioid analgesics and I am hopeful that these new products will assist us in tackling prescription drug abuse.  Obviously, it would be inappropriate to force a patient to take an extremely addictive drug before being allowed to consider the abuse-deterrent alternative as prescribed by the patient's physician."

The Following Members have been appointed to the Committee:

Representative David Lewis, Chair

Representative Josh Dobson, Vice Chair

Representative Dean Arp

Representative William Brisson

Representative Ted Davis, Jr.

Representative Nelson Dollar

Representative Rosa Gill

Representative Yvonne Lewis Holley

Representative Craig Horn

Representative Darren Jackson

Representative Pat McElraft

Representative Gregory Murphy, MD

Representative John Szoka

Representative Michael Wray

Representative Lee Zachary

The House Select Committee on Step Therapy will hold its first meeting Monday December 14, 2015 in room 544 of the Legislative Office Building at 10AM.

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