Doctors and patients push for "Step Therapy" legislation


    Doctors and patients urged lawmakers Tuesday to pass legislation to limit the use of "Step Therapy," also known as “Fail First.” (WGME)

    PORTLAND (WGME) -- Doctors and patients urged lawmakers Tuesday to pass legislation to limit the use of "Step Therapy," also known as “Fail First.”

    Right now, health insurance companies can refuse to cover the cost of expensive medication until a patient tries and fails on a less expensive medication that is preferred by the insurer.

    Lori Schneiders has rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune hepatitis. She says nine years ago, her doctors came up with two medicines that work for her.

    But she says every year, her insurance company tries to put her on less expensive drugs even though she says some of them have given her adverse effects.

    “Every year, because it's wicked expensive, the insurance company tries to get my doctors to switch medication. Why make my doctor do something that doesn't work," Schneiders said. "We have something that works. Why mess with it?”

    Cancer patients and oncologists also say this legislation would put prescribing back in the hands of doctors rather than insurance companies.

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