Bill targeting step therapy drug process up for hearing

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A bipartisan proposal designed to protect patients and make it easier for them to get needed prescription drugs was up for a public hearing in the Wisconsin Legislature.

The measure has broad support from health care providers and people with chronic diseases.

It's modeled after laws in 18 other states setting protocols for so-called step therapy. That is the process where an insurance company can require a patient to first try less expensive treatment options before advancing to more expensive ones that were originally prescribed by a doctor.

The bill being heard Wednesday at a joint hearing before the Assembly and Senate's health committees wouldn't ban step therapy. Instead, it would establish a clear appeals process and detail cases where a step therapy protocol could be bypassed when medically necessary.