News impacting community cancer care
May 19, 2023

The US Oncology Network Applauds Texas Lawmakers for Passing Legislation to Prohibit White Bagging Mandates

TX HB 1647 now goes to the Governor’s Desk for signature.

WOODLANDS, Texas, May 17, 2023 —The US Oncology Network today commends Texas lawmakers for passing HB 1647 to prohibit pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) or insurers from requiring patients with life-threatening conditions to receive their clinician-administered drugs from a PBM mail-order specialty pharmacy. Prior to today’s Senate passage by a vote of 31-0, this bipartisan bill overwhelmingly passed in the Texas House of Representatives last month and unanimously advanced in the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on May 11. 

HB 1647 is a promising first step in a nationwide effort to increase cancer patients’ timely access to needed treatments by limiting PBM and insurers’ white bagging arrangements. The viability of community oncology practices has been increasingly threatened by insurers and PBMs’ use of white bagging mandates—requirements that force oncologists to purchase a patient’s drug through the insurer or PBM’s exclusive specialty pharmacy and ship it to an oncologist’s office. This complex arrangement creates significant delays and safety risks that interfere with the highly personalized treatment plans cancer patients need. HB 1647 will help address unfair barriers to care cancer patients currently face when seeking community-based care.  

“Decisions related to how cancer medicines are distributed and administered should be made by a patient’s oncologist – not by their insurance plan or PBM,” said Dr. Debra Patt, Executive Vice President of Texas Oncology. “Today’s bill passage will enable cancer patients across Texas to receive the care they need when and where they choose.” 

“The Network thanks state lawmakers, especially Representative Cody Harris and Senator Charles Schwertner, MD, for passing HB 1647 and encourages other states to enact similar legislation to ensure physicians can treat patients safely, efficiently, and effectively,” added Jason Hammonds, President of The US Oncology Network.  

The US Oncology Network and Texas Oncology have been leading advocates for HB 1647 and will continue working with Texas lawmakers to ensure the bill is signed into law and implemented without delay. The Network is supportive of white bagging reform policies in all states and is currently working to advance similar legislation to HB 1647 in Ohio and Colorado.   

For more detail on HB 1647, click here.