Wisconsin Senate passes cancer drugs bill

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Chemotherapy drugs in pill form would be more affordable for cancer patients under a bill that has cleared the Wisconsin Legislature.

Gov. Scott Walker has said he will sign the bill the Senate passed Tuesday on a bipartisan 26-7 vote.

Republican legislative leaders initially bottled up the bill, which the insurance industry opposed. But the Legislature ultimately acted following public pressure and addition of an amendment to cap patient copays at $100 a month.

But Democrats say the bill has loopholes that could lead to insurance companies charging even more.

Oral chemotherapy can cost thousands of dollars a month, while intravenous treatments often cost only a $20 copayment under a patient's insurance policy.

The bill would require insurance companies to treat chemotherapy pills the same as IV treatment.

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