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  • Writer's pictureArizona Senate Republicans

Sen. Leach Cuts Red Tape to Provide Access to Medications for Young Patients with Rare Disease

Monday, October 31, 2022


Senator Leach Cuts Red Tape to Provide Access to Critical Medications for Young Patients with Rare Fatal Disease

PHOENIX, ARIZONA— Patients with a universally fatal, severely debilitating pediatric disease will now have access to much needed treatments through the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, thanks to the work of Senator Vince Leach (R-11).

This past July, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) published new coverage criteria for a number of drugs, including several used to treat those battling Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). DMD is caused by an absence of a protein vital for muscle structure, function and preservation. DMD patients experience progressive muscle deterioration and weakness, irreversibly losing the ability to walk, feed themselves and breath unassisted over time. Premature death typically happens when a patient is in their mid-to late 20s. The changes approved by AHCCCS greatly restricted access to three FDA approved treatments designed to slow the spread of the disease's devastating effects.

Thanks to the leadership of Senator Leach, he was able to work with AHCCCS to reinstate a pathway to coverage that ensures all Arizona Medicaid patients with DMD receive timely access to these drugs. Because of his intervention, no patient will be deprived of "on-label use" of these urgently needed, FDA-approved treatments.

"Every year in the U.S., 400 patients die from this disease, while another 400 lose the ability to walk and hundreds more lose the most basic functions of feeding and dressing themselves or breathing without support of a ventilator," said Senator Leach. "Government should never create roadblocks for those suffering by restricting access to treatments, especially when many of those patients are children. I'm thankful AHCCCS quickly resolved this issue so that patients and their families now have some peace of mind knowing they won't have to fight through red tape to receive these critical medications. I will always advocate to protect those who are among the most vulnerable in our state."


For more information, contact:

Kim Quintero

Director of Communications | Arizona State Senate Republican Caucus

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