BALTIMORE, Md--The Maryland legislation has passed an historic bill requiring insurers, including managed care companies, to pay the patient care costs for patients enrolled in clinical trials. The law takes effect January 1999.
The legislation, sponsored by Senator Thomas Bromwell and Delegate Carolyn Krysiak, won the cooperation of the insurance industry, academic medical centers, and community physicians, as well as patient advocates.
"There is no doubt that clinical trials lead to better ways of preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases such as cancer," said Martin D. Abeloff, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center.
Dr. Abeloff spoke to both the Maryland Senate Finance Committee and the House Economic Matters Committee about the proposed clinical trials legislation earlier this year.
The support of insurers came after an extensive education effort about the importance of clinical trials, including the fact that such trials can lead to more effective and less costly treatments.
The Maryland legislation requires funding only for clinical trials approved by one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or an NIH-sponsored cooperative group or center, the federal Department of Veterans Affairs, or the Food and Drug Administration, and trials conducted by academic medical centers.