Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Applauds Senate HELP Committee for Including the Safe Step Act in PBM Reform Legislation

Legislation will give patients and their doctors a process to seek exception to Step Therapy requirements that may delay necessary care

May 16, 2023 – The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation thanks members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee for voting to include the Safe Step Act in an amendment to the Pharmacy Benefit Reform Act. If this legislation is passed, it will ensure that employer health plans offer a medically reasonable and expedient step therapy process.


The amendment was put forth by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) with support from Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Doc Marshall (R-KS).


Step therapy reform bills have been passed at the state level in as many as 34 states. This is the first time that the Safe Step has been approved by a committee and the next step is a vote by the full Senate.


Step therapy or fail first, occurs when a patient’s insurer or Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) requires a patient to try and fail on a medication before they will provide coverage for the original provider- prescribed treatment. Recent surveys indicate that over 40 percent of patients with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis have had to try and fail on one or more drugs before accessing the provider-prescribed treatment. The delay in optimal treatment for IBD patients may lead to suffering from worse outcomes including surgical removal of the colon and decreased quality of life. The Safe Step Act does not ban the use of step therapy, but instead puts common sense parameters and reasonable timelines around the practice.


“We commend the Senate HELP Committee for recognizing the critical need to safeguard patients and empower them to access medically necessary treatments by endorsing the Safe Step Act,” said Laura Wingate, Executive Vice President, Education, Support, & Advocacy at Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. “We are deeply appreciative to the committee for championing this significant reform.”


About the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization focused on both research and patient support for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), with the mission of curing Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis and improving quality of life for the millions of Americans living with IBD. The Foundation’s work is dramatically accelerating the research process, while also providing extensive educational and support resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public. For more information, visit, call 888-694-8872, or email [email protected].



Rachel Peifer

E: [email protected]

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation is a non-profit, volunteer-fueled organization dedicated to finding the cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improving the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. It was founded in 1967 by Irwin M. and Suzanne Rosenthal, William D. and Shelby Modell, and Henry D. Janowitz, M.D.