Georgia lawmakers closer to banning ‘step therapy’

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ATLANTA (WJBF) – Georgia lawmakers took another step toward banning “step therapy” Monday.

That’s when your insurer can make you try older, outdated medications before the ones your doctor prescribes.

This really boils down to one simple question — who should get to choose what medication you take…your doctor…or your insurer?  

Most people would choose their doctor.  

The bill passed today puts more control back in doctors’ and patients’ hands.

For conditions like epilepsy and diabetes, new drugs can be life-saving. But existing Georgia law allowed insurers to make you try older, cheaper ones first…even if your doctor said you need a new therapy. No more.

“As an orthopedic surgeon, I may want to prescribe Celebrex, but the insurance might require the patient to fail two other cheaper drugs first, even though this could cause side effects or complications from the drugs,” says Sen. Dr. Kay Kirkpatrick.

And as you heard there, Senator —and doctor — Kirkpatrick didn’t make an emotionally compelling case for the bill as we heard from patients in committee… because she didn’t need to.  

The bill passed unanimously.

If that bill is signed by Governor Kemp it will become law and take effect in January 2020.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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