AMA House of Delegates Approves ASCO-Backed Resolutions on Ancillary Clinical Trial Costs and ARPA-H Funding

June 15, 2022

From June 10-15, delegates from the Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) participated in the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates (HOD). The AMA HOD is the principal policy-making body of AMA and meets twice a year to discuss pressing issues and establish association policies. This year, the meeting returned to an in-person format in Chicago.

The AMA HOD voted to approve two ASCO-backed resolutions during the meeting:

  • Clinical Trial Costs: ASCO called on the AMA to advocate for federal and state legislation that would allow sponsors of clinical trial to cover non-clinical, ancillary costs (including transportation, lodging, meals, and child care) for trial participants. Currently, insurers are required to cover the direct medical or “routine costs” of treatment ordinarily incurred during a clinical trial, and trial sponsors generally cover the expenses for procedures or medications that are necessary for the research study. However, patients are often responsible for ancillary costs, which may lead to varied participation rates between higher- and lower-income patients, patients in rural areas, and other underrepresented groups. Trial sponsors and sites currently lack clarity over what can be covered without constituting inducement.
  • Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H): ASCO also called on the AMA to urge Congress and the Administration to ensure that while providing adequate funding for ARPA-H, it also provides robust annual baseline increases in appropriations for other research agencies, centers, and institutes, including the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute. This is in alignment with ASCO’s Fiscal Year 2023 advocacy requests, which state that ARPA-H funding should be separate and not detract from annual appropriations to other research agencies. With COVID-19’s disruption to biomedical and cancer research, ASCO’s AMA delegates emphasized that any reform to both the research enterprise and health innovation efforts should not impact current or future resources of existing research enterprises.

During the AMA HOD Meeting, ASCO led two meetings of the HOD's Cancer Caucus, which provides a forum to address cancer-specific issues that are either being discussed or should be discussed by the HOD. The meeting also included robust discussions around other ASCO priority issues, including prior authorization, physician payment reform, and physician wellness. Additionally, the AMA elected ASCO member Marilyn J. Heine, MD, FACEP, FACP, FCPP, to its Board of Trustees. She has served as the Chair of the AMA Council on Legislation since June 2020 and has several prominent roles in state and national medical organizations.

ASCO had three delegates in attendance at this meeting: Thomas A. Marsland, MD, FASCO, Steve Y. Lee, MD, and Erin L. Schwab, MD, MPH, BS. ASCO’s Resident Fellow Section Delegate is David Savage, MD, PhD and Barbara McAneny, MD, FASCO also participated with the delegation. Edward P. Balaban, DO, FACP, FASCO; Kristina L. Novick, MD; and Ray D. Page, DO, PhD, FACOI, FASCO, also serve as ASCO’s AMA HOD delegates.

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