Patient Power Says New Law in the District of Columbia Will Protect Local Patients From High Copays for Essential Medications

-- The Specialty Drug Copayment Limitation Act Signed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser --

Carlsbad, CA and Washington, DC – May 11, 2017 -- PATIENT POWER®, connecting patients and advocates with knowledge and experts, today thanked the DC government for passing a new law to limit patients’ out-of-pocket spending for their prescription medications. The new law, titled the "Specialty Drug Copayment Limitation Act,”  will “impose a limit on the amount that a person must pay in copayment or coinsurance through a health benefit plan for a prescription for a specialty drug.” This refers to prescriptions for progressive, debilitating diseases such as cancer – the bill specifically mentions the blood cancer multiple myeloma.

“The law doesn’t go into effect until January, but we want to acknowledge this important step now amidst all of the turmoil over federal healthcare legislation,” said Andrew Schorr, Co-Founder and President of Patient Power and a 21-year cancer survivor. “High out-of-pocket payments can prevent many patients from taking the full dose of medications they need. Putting a limit on those personal payments can help patients like me. I’ve depended on specialty medications to keep me alive and well and working 21 years since my initial diagnosis.”

Esther Schorr, Patient Power Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, added, “The law will limit out-of-pocket payments to $150 for a 30-day supply of specialty medicines and $300 for a 90-day supply. This is critically important not just for patients but for their families. We should never have to make the terrible choice between the health of our loved one and the prospect of bankruptcy or losing our home.”

Affordable copayments do make a difference. Greg Simon, Executive Director of the Cancer Initiative for the Biden Foundation and a CLL survivor, recently told Patient Power in an interview that manageable copays made a big difference for him. He said that although some innovative cancer therapies can be very expensive, his own copay was very affordable.

This may sound costly to the healthcare system, but it actually saves money. A 2013 report study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology said patients not taking their medications as prescribed “resulted in $105 billion in avoidable health care costs in 2012.”

Similar bills have also passed in California, Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Montana, New York, and Vermont.  The D.C. law takes effect January 1, 2018.


Patient Power® is a service of Patient Power, LLC led by founders Andrew and Esther Schorr, supported by team members around the world. They are committed to helping each person they touch approach their illness in a way that gives them the best chance of good health: getting smart about their diagnosis, seeking out the best healthcare providers, getting second and even third opinions on what approach to take – including, if appropriate, participating in a clinical trial, and drawing on others for support.

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Page last updated on May 11, 2017