WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) joined Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Roger Marshall (R-KS) in introducing the Safe Step Act of 2023, a bipartisan bill that helps increase patient access to safe, effective, and transparent medical treatments by placing reasonable limits on “step therapy” requirements.
Step therapy, also known as “fail first,” occurs when a patient is required to try and fail on a lower-cost drug before they are allowed to access the drug originally prescribed by their physician. This method has the potential to harm patients, in part due to delayed access to the most effective treatments, severe side effects, and irreversible disease progression, creating additional frustration for patients as they seek treatment.
“Patients, especially those battling critical medical conditions, should be able to receive the treatments their physicians prescribe in a timely and efficient manner,” said Senator Rosen. “I support this bipartisan legislation to ensure patients avoid unnecessary delays in their care and receive the most effective and medically appropriate treatment. I will continue working to improve care for patients in Nevada and across the nation.”
The bipartisan Safe Step Act would amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to require group health plans to provide an exception process for any medication step therapy protocol, tools used by health plans to control spending on patients’ medications, to help ensure patients are able to safely and efficiently access treatment. The bill does not ban step therapy, instead placing reasonable limits on its use and creates a clear process for patients and doctors to seek exceptions and accelerated approval if necessary.