We’ve all heard the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Sound advice for many situations — but not when you are talking about one’s health. Individuals should not have to fail and then try again and again in order to access the medications their doctors have prescribed — but that, unfortunately, is what can happen in New York and around the rest of the country.

It is a process known as “step therapy” or “fail first,” and its implementation is on the rise and can be applied to many drugs used to treat serious, even life-threatening diseases. For example, in 2012, 54 percent of insurance plans were found to use step therapy to fight cancer, up from 36 percent in the prior year.