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Step Therapy Could Get Kicked to the Side

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Graduated medical treatments known as step therapy could be outlawed in California. A bill working it's way through the Senate would ban the practice.

Many insurance companies mandate step therapy. That's when a patient goes to the doctor in pain, and the doctor is limited to recommending over the counter treatments, like Tylenol, before progressing to more potent prescription pain killers. Loretta Jones is the founder of Healthy African American Families, and she says has first-hand experience with step therapy.

"Oh God, let me tell you," Jone says. "I was in pain. And they had me going through Tylenol, they had me try to take Advil…All of these things for fibromyalgia".

Jones says it took more than a year for her pain to be properly treated. Now, she has joined with 24 other state health interest groups to lobby lawmakers.

"I think that step therapy should be sent to the farm," Jones quips.

Insurance companies say step therapy helps keep costs low and could help prevent pain pill addiction---and it also helps check any cozy relationship a doctor might have with a drug company. Independent studies have shown step therapy can actually raise costs.
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