A new law in Delaware will allow people with life threatening cancers access to drugs they need without having to try and fail other treatments first. Before, insurance companies required that Delawareans try a series of cheaper, less intrusive treatments before moving onto stronger, more costly medication that their doctors recommended.
Delaware is ranked 16th in the country for overall cancer mortality. According to the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, the state’s cancer death rates have decreased by more than 25 percent since the 1980s. In the 1990s, the state was ranked second for cancer mortality.
“We’re moving the needle further and further towards the ultimate, which would be to find a cure for cancer,” said Denni Ferrara, the president of the Leukemia Research Foundation of Delaware.
Ferrara’s daughter Natalia was diagnosed with a high-risk form of Leukemia at three-and-a-half years old. She’s now 23 and a cancer survivor. The new law was first geared at people with stage four metastatic cancer, but House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst (D-Bear), one of the bill’s sponsors, said she tailored it to also help children with life threatening cancers as young as Natalia was. Children aren’t diagnosed on a stage 4-type scale.
Longhurst said she hopes the new law will make a difference for anyone who needs to undergo treatment for life threatening cancers.