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‘Step therapy’ proposal wins Senate approval

SANTA FE — A bipartisan proposal aimed at improving the regulation of “step therapy” — the practice of requiring patients to try cheaper drugs before more expensive ones — passed the state Senate on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 11 now heads to the House for consideration.

“This is for the patient’s sake,” Sen. Gay Kernan, a Hobbs Republican and one of four co-sponsors of the bill, said in a written statement. “We want to make sure patients get the best possible treatment.”

The proposal calls for an appeals process if a patient is denied his or her ideal drug.

Insurance companies have said “step therapy” is a critical way to reduce health care costs.

The measure was passed on a 39-0 vote.