WASHINGTON – Senator Hassan and colleagues introduced the bipartisan Safe Step Act of 2023, which places reasonable limits on the use of “step therapy,” and works to improve access to safer and more transparent treatments for patients. Step therapy, also known as “fail first,” occurs when a patient is required to try and fail on a lower cost drug before they are allowed to access the drug originally prescribed by their physician. This method has the potential to harm patients, in part due to delayed access to the most effective treatments, severe side effects, and irreversible disease progression, creating additional frustration for patients as they seek treatment.
“Needless barriers to treatment can endanger a patient’s health and disrupt their care or health coverage,” said Senator Hassan. “The bipartisan Safe Step Act will help patients get the most effective medication more quickly.”
The Washington Post recently highlighted the importance of Senator Hassan and colleagues’ Safe Step Act, and you can read more here.
The bipartisan Safe Step Act would require group health plans to provide an exception process for any medication step therapy protocol to help ensure that patients can safely and efficiently access treatment. The bill does not ban step therapy, instead placing reasonable limits on its use and creating a clear process for patients and doctors to seek exceptions and accelerated approval if necessary.