Check-out this Milwaukee area news story about a multiple myeloma patient who is fighting to get oral chemotherapy covered by insurance:
State legislators are working to make oral chemo affordable for patients
By Courtny Gerrish, Stephanie Graham
Oct. 19, 2011
MILWAUKEE – Marc Richman of Delafield doesn’t mince words when it comes to his cancer diagnosis earlier this year.
“It sucked! There’s no other way to put it. You can never prepare yourself to hear those words, you know, you just can’t,” he recalls.
Marc has Multiple Myeloma, a blood cancer. Like many cancer patients, Marc also went through several rounds of intravenous chemotherapy. However, that is changing, and chemo through a tube is being replaced by chemo in a bottle.
Dr. Parameswaran Haria is an oncologist at Froedtert and the Medical College. He explains, “These are drugs that just basically hit the right target in the cancer cell, and they are not associated, usually with hair loss and nausea.”
Chemo without the side effects? Sounds great right? Unfortunately… it comes at a hefty price.
“It’s the equivelant of beyond a mortgage payment,” Marc exclaims.
While insurance covers 100% of chemo administered in a hospital, it only covers a small portion of the cost of oral chemo, since it’s considered a prescription drug–drugs that can cost more than $10,000 a month.
Senator Alberta Darling represents the 8th district, and now she’s working to represent patients. She is a sponsor of a new bill going through the State Assembly.
It would make companies that cover traditional chemo also cover oral chemo–which is already standard practice in about 20 other states. She states, “Why should we have our citizens not have the same benefit as many other citizens throughout the country?”
Marc is starting an oral chemo trial, and looks forward to the day it becomes affordable for all cancer patients. He says matter-of-factly, “It’s all in your attitude, and you have to be willing to fight the fight. I get up every day and put those gloves on, and do battle.”
Oral chemo is available for most primary cancers, and new breakthroughs are being made every day.
You can access video of the story by going to: Health Alert-WTMJ-Milwaukee.
Last year I ran an article about this on our Help With Cancer.org site:
Friday, February 26, 2010
The IMF has been fighting for equity for how cancer drugs are paid for. Why should a patient’s chemo–administered by IV in clinic or at the hospital–be paid for, while an oral chemo drug falls under prescription drug plans?
This can cost a patient–like Marc in the story above–thousands of dollars. CRAZY!
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat