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California Life Sciences Association Hails Progress on Important Patient Protection Measure

AB 2115 would ensure patients losing health coverage are notified about prescription-drug discount plans

/EIN News/ -- SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 23, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), the nation's largest statewide life sciences public policy and business solutions organization representing over 750 of California's life sciences innovators, hailed progress on an important patient protection measure in the California State Legislature. AB 2115 by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D–Healdsburg) requires health insurers to notify patients who lose coverage about the availability of programs that will allow them to receive the medicines they need, regardless of coverage status.

"As unexpected events occur that may disrupt healthcare coverage, it is important that government and insurance providers inform Californians about their options," said Sara Radcliffe, President & CEO, CLSA. "An increased awareness of patient assistance programs will help us continue to close the gap for the uninsured, and help Californians maintain access to life-saving medications through tough times."

This simple notification measure will inform patients about the resources available to them, even if they lose their employer-based healthcare coverage. A study of a similar measure in Washington State found a 51 percent decline in the rate of emergency room visits and hospital stays for patients who were able to keep their access to medicine through patient assistance programs from the makers of medications and others.

Millions of Californians receive health insurance through their employer but may find their insurance status in flux when their employment situation changes. AB 2115 will help assure anyone who loses their insurance coverage that they can still access important medicines at no or low-cost.

"Losing your job can be a scary and uncertain time, especially for people who rely on medicines and who depend on access to these medicines through their work-based health insurance plan," said Eve Bukowski, a Stage 4 Colon Cancer fighter, wife and mother of two, and CLSA's Vice President, State Government Relations. "This bill will simply inform patients whose coverage status is uncertain that the maker of their medicine may be able to help, even if they are temporarily without health insurance. Who could be against that?"

AB 2115 cleared the Assembly Appropriations Committee after passing the Assembly Health Committee on a 19-0 vote. It will be heard next on the Assembly floor.

About California Life Sciences Association (CLSA)
California Life Sciences Association (CLSA) is the leading voice driving innovation for California's life sciences sector. CLSA works closely with industry, government, academia and other stakeholders to shape public policy, drive business solutions and grow California's life sciences innovation ecosystem. CLSA serves over 750 biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device, and diagnostics companies, research universities and institutes, investors and service providers. CLSA was founded in 2015 when the Bay Area Bioscience Association (BayBio) and the California Healthcare Institute (CHI) merged to create the state's most influential life sciences advocacy and business leadership organization. Visit CLSA at www.califesciences.org, and follow us on Twitter @CALifeSciences, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Media Contact:
Will Zasadny
Associate Director, Communications
Wzasadny@califesciences.org
619-961-8848

CONTACT: Will Zasadny
         Associate Director, Communications
         Wzasadny@califesciences.org
         619-961-8848

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