Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The "Chemo Parity" Issue

This Washington Post article discusses the "chemo parity" problem, which was not addressed by the recently-passed national health care legislation. The new oral chemotherapy drugs are very nice, but they also tend to be very expensive, and often are covered inadequately by drug plans, thus forcing patients back onto IV chemotherapy drugs, which are usually covered by medical plans, rather than by drug plans. And of course things get much uglier in those cases in which no IV drug is available, or the patient's disease has become IV drug-resistant.

There is a paragraph in here that talks about multiple myeloma patients who take Revlimid, which is described as being required "after an IV drug stops working". I took Revlimid last year as stem cell transplant induction therapy, and I'm taking it now as maintenance therapy; I have never been given an IV drug that "stopped working". Either the Post or its source for this part of this story is behind the curve on how Revlimid is currently being used in multiple myeloma cases.

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