Texas Governor Greg Abbott Signs Step Therapy Reform Bill into Law

Senate Bill 680 Provides a More Transparent Prescription Overriding Process

Portland, Ore. (May 24, 2017)—The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) in conjunction with more than 35 local, statewide and national patient advocacy and health care provider groups applaud Governor Gregg Abbott (R) for signing S.B. 680 into law and providing patients across Texas access to a clear and expeditious process to request a step therapy exemption when it is not medically appropriate.  

Step therapy, or “fail first,” protocols allow a patient’s insurance company to require they try and fail on lower cost medications before receiving the initial treatment prescribed by their doctor. While step therapy can successfully control costs, in some instances, this practice can do more harm than good. For patients living with serious or chronic illnesses like psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, prolonging ineffective treatment and delaying access to the right treatment could result in increased disease activity, loss of function and possible irreversible progression of disease.

Led by Senator Kelly Hancock (R) and Representative Greg Bonnen (R), and with near unanimous support from both the Senate and House of Representatives, the passage of S.B. 680 will allow patients in Texas to have better access to the medications prescribed by their health care providers. This law will go into effect in January 2018.

“This is an important victory for patients in Texas living with a serious or chronic illness. Patients have suffered under step therapy protocols when denied or delayed access to critical medications. This legislation will enable medical providers and patients to work together to determine the best method for treatment,” said Colby Evans M.D. dermatologist at Evans Dermatology Partners in Austin Texas, and chairman of the board of trustees for NPF.

NPF played an integral role behind the bill’s passing. NPF hosted a successful Texas Lobby Day to raise awareness and gain support of the legislation. NPF was also involved in several negotiations concerning bill language and had an extremely engaged group of advocates who made regular outreach efforts to legislative offices.

NPF State Government Relations Manager Amy Prentice said, “The hard work and diligence of our providers and patient advocates living in Texas made this success possible. The tireless work and effort to keep their legislators aware of the harmful impacts of step therapy, the critical need of this legislation, and active participation in bill developments every step of the way is truly inspiring.”

With the passage of this bill, Texas joins 16 other states including Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, and New York, in reducing the burdens imposed by step therapy and facilitating the patient’s ability to get on the appropriate treatment prescribed by their health care provider in a timely manner. The adoption of this law in Texas is an important milestone for patients in the state as well as for NPF efforts to ensure patients have increased access to appropriate treatments. Learn more about NPF step therapy advocacy efforts at www.steptherapyinfo.com/.

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About the National Psoriasis Foundation

Celebrating 50 years of patient support, advocacy, research funding, and education, the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is the world’s leading nonprofit fighting for individuals with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. NPF is on a continued mission to drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and dramatically improve the lives of more than 8 million Americans affected by this chronic immune mediated disease.  As part of that effort, in 2016 the NPF created a Patient Navigation Center to offer personalized assistance to everyone with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. In addition, the NPF has funded more than $15 million in research grants and fellowships to date. Learn more at www.psoriasis.org.