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In a high-stakes battle between drug makers and insurers, last week it was the drug makers who got a lift, on a little-noticed issue and in an unusual place: Arkansas.

The governor there signed legislation to make Arkansas the 43rd state since 2008 to enact so-called oral parity laws, which prohibit certain private insurers from charging cancer patients more in copays if they take chemo in pill form instead of getting it infused into their veins. Patient groups are pushing similar legislative campaigns in North Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, and at the federal level.


They’re getting lobbying and funding help from drug makers — while facing fierce, if increasingly unsuccessful, opposition from insurers. Experts say the issue is becoming a proxy in the fight over high drug prices and who should bear their burden.

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