Support Programs for Patients with Cancer in Need of Financial Assistance

Investment in cancer research has led to tremendous strides in the improvement of patient care, survival, and quality of life. Although the incidence rates of cancer have not changed substantially, cancer death rates have declined 21% among men and 12% among women since the 1990s, and more than 13 million cancer survivors are alive in the United States today.1

Our ability to map cancer genomes and understand signaling pathways that govern normal and malignant cell growth have led to an explosion of knowledge regarding the biochemical changes that characterize cancer cells. These advances in knowledge have facilitated the development of new and more targeted therapeutic strategies, ushering in an era of increasing potential for personalized medicine.2

New therapies have essentially transformed certain cancers into chronic diseases, leading to vastly improved long-term survival.1 As more patients survive cancer and more individualized treatment is possible, greater attention is being paid to the quality and the value of healthcare, leading to innovative solutions for quality improvement.1

Although there have been great advances in cancer diagnostics and therapeutics, there is also a considerable cost associated with cancer treatment in general, as well as in the development of new anticancer therapies. A tremendous amount of research, much of it conducted in the private sector, is required to develop breakthrough therapies and technologies in cancer, and it is expensive to perform the clinical trials required to gain approval and move new compounds from the bench to the bedside.3,4

In addition, because most cancers are incurable, patients cycle through most or all of the possible approved agents, sequentially or in combination. As a result, the total treatment cost is additive, as new drugs added to the treatment armamentarium do not necessarily replace older drugs; rather, they are inserted into the treatment pathways as add-ons to former standard-of-care treatments.3,4Because of these factors, anticancer therapies can be expensive. According to Express Scripts’ 2013Drug Trend Report, the average cost per prescription for a cancer drug was $4023 in 2013.5

Patients are expected to bear some of the cost of new cancer therapies. However, the affordability of prescription drugs is a concern for many patients, and the ability to afford prescription medications is an important issue in the United States. It is estimated that 40% of Americans of all ages,6and two-thirds of the elderly population report difficulty paying for medications.7As a result, more than one-quarter of patients have not filled a prescription or have reduced a prescribed dosage because they cannot afford to pay its out-of-pocket cost.8Furthermore, despite Medicaid program expansion and the Accountable Care Act mandate requiring eligible individuals to purchase health insurance, many adult Americans remain uninsured.9

Cost-related medication nonadherence has important implications for healthcare, and paradoxically may increase overall health costs, because care that is potentially preventable with the use of effective medications could cost more than the drugs themselves.10-12

Fortunately, there are a number of options for patients with cancer who are in need. This resource intends to provide a broad overview of the patient assistance services that are available to eligible patients with cancer, focusing primarily on programs that help patients afford the cost of prescription drugs. There is no single, central resource for financial assistance services; therefore, patients frequently look to their oncology provider for help in identifying organizations that provide assistance.

Foundations and Nonprofit Organizations

Many foundations and nonprofit organizations are available to help patients in need. Most of these organizations have copayment programs that provide financial assistance for certain healthcare costs to patients who qualify financially and medically. Other organizations serve as resources to help patients identify sources of funding. Specific eligibility requirements and levels of assistance vary widely from program to program; therefore, financial counselors and other oncology administrative staff are urged to research specific program criteria.

Below is a list of programs that assist with cancer-related health­care needs. In addition to the contact information listed below, many national organizations can also be contacted through their local affiliates.

American Breast Cancer Foundation

The American Breast Cancer Foundation provides direct financial assistance to uninsured and underserved women and men of all ages for breast cancer screening and diagnostic tests through the Key to Life Breast Cancer Assistance Program. The program includes annual screenings for women aged >40 years, as well as support services for patients with cancer.

Phone:(410) 825-9388; website:www.abcf.org.

American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society has programs and services to help patients with cancer and their loved ones understand cancer, manage their lives through treatment and recovery, and identify resources for patients who need financial assistance.

Phone:(800) 227-2345; website:www.cancer.org. American Childhood Cancer Organization

The American Childhood Cancer Organization provides programs, information, and awareness for children and adolescents with cancer and their families, to advocate for their needs, and to support research so every child survives and leads a long and healthy life.

Phone:(855) 858-2226; website:www.acco.org.

Assistance Fund

The Assistance Fund is a leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is established to provide advanced biotech therapies to the underinsured population.

Phone:(855) 845-3663; website:www.theassistancefund.org.

Avon Foundation for Women

The Avon Foundation for Women, through the Avon Breast Health Outreach Program, links medically underserved women to breast health education and screening services. Low-income, underinsured, and other marginalized populations often need targeted, customized approaches to help them obtain regular mammograms and clinical breast exams.

Phone:(212) 244-5368; website:www.avonbhop.org.

CancerCare

CancerCare is a national nonprofit organization that provides free, professional support services to patients with cancer and their caregivers, children, loved ones, and the bereaved. CancerCare programs, which include counseling, education, financial assistance, and practical help, are provided by trained oncology social workers. CancerCare’s financial assistance programs provide limited financial assistance for cancer-related costs.

Phone:(800) 813-4673; website:www.cancercarecopay.org.

Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition

The Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition (CFAC) is a group of national organizations that provide financial help to patients with cancer; CFAC provides a searchable database of financial resources available to patients in need.

Website:www.cancerfac.org.

Cancer Support Community

The Cancer Support Community (CSC) is an international nonprofit organization that is dedicated to providing support, education, and hope to individuals affected by cancer. CSC offers a menu of personalized services and education. These support services are available through a network of professionally led, community-based centers, hospitals, community oncology practices, and online resources, so that no one has to face cancer alone.

Phone:(888) 793-9355; website:www.cancersupportcommunity.org.

Chronic Disease Fund

The Chronic Disease Fund provides assistance to underinsured patients who are diagnosed with chronic or life-altering diseases (including cancer) that require the use of expensive, specialty therapeutics.

Phone:(877) 968-7233; website:www.cdfund.org/Copay-Assistance.aspx.

HealthWell Foundation

The HealthWell Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to eligible individuals to cover coinsurance, copayments, healthcare premiums, and deductibles for certain medications and therapies.

Phone:(800) 675-8416; website:www.healthwellfoundation.org.

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s patient financial aid program provides limited financial assistance to patients diagnosed with a blood cancer (eg, leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma) and with significant financial needs to help defray treatment-related expenses.

Phone:(800) 955-4572; website:www.lls.org/copay.

National Children’s Cancer Society

The National Children’s Cancer Society seeks to improve the quality of life for children with cancer and their families by providing financial and in-kind assistance, advocacy, support services, and education.

Phone:(800) 532-6459; website:www.thenccs.org.

National Foundation for Transplants

The National Foundation for Transplants provides fundraising assistance for patients needing transplants, including bone-marrow and stem-cell transplants.

Phone:(800) 489-3863; website:www.transplants.org.

National Organization for Rare Disorders

The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of voluntary health organizations that are dedicated to helping patients with rare orphan diseases and assisting the organizations that serve them. NORD is committed to the identification, treatment, and cure of rare disorders through programs of education, advocacy, research, and service.

Phone:(203) 744-0100; website:www.rarediseases.org.

NeedyMeds

NeedyMeds is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that helps individuals who cannot afford medications or other healthcare costs. NeedyMeds is an information source on companies that offer patient assistance programs. These programs help patients obtain medications at no cost or low cost through the manufacturer. Phone:(800) 503-6897; website:www.needymeds.org. Partnership for Prescription Assistance

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get the medication they need for free or nearly free. This organization offers access to more than 475 public and private programs, including 200 pharmaceutical company programs.

Phone:(888) 477-2669; website:www.pparx.org.

Patient Access Network Foundation

The Patient Access Network Foundation provides financial support for out-of-pocket costs associated with a wide range of medications to treat a number of conditions, including cancer.

Phone:(866) 316-7263; website:www.panfoundation.org.

Patient Advocate Foundation Copay Relief Program

The Patient Advocate Foundation Copay Relief Program currently provides direct financial support to insured patients, including Medicare Part D beneficiaries, who must financially and medically qualify to access pharmaceutical copayment assistance.

Phone:(866) 512-3861; website:www.copays.org. Patient Services, Inc

Patient Services, Inc is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing health insurance premium assistance, pharmacy copayment assistance, and copayment waiver assistance for patients with specific expensive chronic illnesses.

Phone:(800) 366-7741; website:www.patientservicesinc.org.

RxHope

RxHope helps patients obtain free or low-cost prescription medications. RxHope has program descriptions and downloadable applications for prescription assistance programs for specific medications.

Phone:(877) 267-0517; website:www.rxhope.com.

RxAssist

Using their online Patient Assistance Program Center, RxAssist helps patients find information about free and low-cost medicine programs, as well as other ways to manage their medication costs.

Website:www.rxassist.org.

Note: The author conducted a thorough search to identify leading oncology-related foundations and nonprofit organizations; however, this is not intended to be a fully comprehensive list.

Manufacturer Patient Assistance Programs

Many pharmaceutical companies offer financial assistance to help individuals defray the cost of their medications. These programs serve as a safety net for Americans who are not eligible for comprehensive assistance programs and cannot afford their medications. Most programs require proof of financial status to establish eligibility.

Below is a list of manufacturer patient assistance programs that offer financial support to eligible patients for anticancer therapies and supportive-care agents.

AbbVie AbbVie Patient Assistance Foundation

The AbbVie Patient Assistance Foundation provides AbbVie medications at no cost to patients experiencing financial difficulty who may or may not have or qualify for prescription medication benefits through private insurance or government-funded programs.

Phone:(800) 222-6885; website:www.abbviepaf.org.

  • Lupron Depot (leuprolide acetate) for depot suspension
  • Lupaneta Pack (leuprolide acetate and norethindrone acetate)
Amgen Inc Commercial Copay Assistance Coupon Support Amgen Inc offers copay coupon programs to help commercially insured, eligible patients with their deductible, coinsurance, and/or copayment requirements. Phone:(888) 657-8371; website:www.amgenfirststep.com.

  • Neulasta (pegfilgrastim)
  • Nplate (romiplostim)
  • Prolia (denosumab)
  • Xgeva (denosumab)
Safety Net Foundation

The Safety Net Foundation is a nonprofit patient assistance program designed to assist patients who are uninsured, with limited or no financial resources. Program eligibility is based on US residency, insurance status, and income requirements.

Phone:(888) 762-6436; website:www.safetynetfoundation.com.

  • Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa)
  • Epogen (epoetin alfa)
  • Neulasta (pegfilgrastim)
  • Neupogen (filgrastim)
  • Nplate (romiplostim)
  • Prolia (denosumab)
  • Sensipar (cinacalcet)
  • Vectibix (panitumumab)
  • Xgeva (denosumab)
ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc ARIAD PASS The ARIAD PASS (Patient Access and Support Services) program helps providers and their eligible patients afford treatment. Phone:(855) 447-7277; website:www.ariadpass.com.
  • Iclusig (ponatinib)
Astellas Pharma US, Inc Xtandi Patient Savings Program This program is intended for patients who have commercial and/or private health insurance, but who may have trouble paying their medication out-of-pocket costs. Phone:(855) 898-2634; website:www.astellasaccess.com.

  • Xtandi (enzalutamide)
Astellas Access Program

This program is designed for patients who have no health insurance. The program provides free Xtandi to patients who qualify for enrollment based on their insurance status and household income. Phone:(855) 982-6341; website:www.astellasaccess.com.

  • Xtandi (enzalutamide)
AstraZeneca AZ&Me Prescription Savings Program The AZ&Me Prescription Savings Program provides Astra Zeneca medications at no cost to individiuals without health insurance and to Medicare Part D beneficiaries. This program provides AstraZeneca medications to low-income patients through qualifying facilities, such as disproportionate share hospitals, community health centers, community free clinics, central-fill pharmacies, and charitable pharmacies.

Phone:(800) 292-6363; website:www.astrazeneca-us.com/medicines/help-affording-your-medicines/azandme-prescription-savings-programs.

  • Arimidex (anastrozole)
  • Faslodex (fulvestrant)
  • Zoladex (goserelin acetate) implant
  • Caprelsa (vandetanib)
Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc Resources for Expert Assistance and Care Helpline This program is designed to reduce the monthly copays of patients with private insurance.

Phone:(866) 639-2827; website:www.patientassistance.com/profile/bayerhealthcarepharmaceuticals-275.

  • Nexavar (sorafenib)
  • Stivarga (regorafenib)
Xofigo Access Services

Xofigo Access Services provides Xofigo (radium Ra 223 dichloride) free of charge to eligible patients who are uninsured or who are insured but do not have coverage for Xofigo. Patients with private commercial insurance may also be eligible for copay assistance.

Phone:(855) 696-3446; website:www.xofigo-us.com/hcp/patient-support.

  • Xofigo (radium Ra 223 dichloride)
Bristol-Myers Squibb

Bristol-Myers Squibb Patient Assistance Foundation This foundation assists patients who need temporary help paying for the medications listed below. To receive temporary help, patients must prove financial hardship and meet other eligibility criteria.

Phone:(800) 736-0003; website:www.bmspaf.org/Pages/Home.aspx.

  • Erbitux (cetuximab)
  • Ixempra (ixabepilone)
  • Sprycel (dasatinib)
  • Yervoy (ipilimumab)
Bristol-Myers Squibb Oncology Copay Program

This program is designed to assist with out-of-pocket copays or coinsurance requirements for eligible, commercially insured patients prescribed the below Bristol-Myers Squibb medications, per US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved indications.

Phone:(800) 861-0048; website:www.bmsaccesssupport.com/contact.aspx.

  • Droxia (hydroxyurea)
  • Etopophos (etoposide phosphate)
  • Lysodren (mitotane)
  • Erbitux (cetuximab)
  • Ixempra (ixabepilone)
  • Sprycel (dasatinib)
  • Yervoy (ipilimumab)
Celgene Corporation

Celgene Patient Support
Celgene Patient Support offers healthcare professionals and patients access and reimbursement assistance from a single specialist assigned to each doctor's office. No matter what the insurance situation, Celgene Patient Support is committed to helping patients access their Celgene medication.

Phone:(800) 931-8691; website:www.celgenepatientsupport.com.

Celgene Commercial Co-Pay Program
This program provides up to $10,000 annually to help meet deductible and copay/coinsurance costs. For qualified patients in the program, their cost will be $25 or less, depending on which Celgene drug they are prescribed (assistance not to exceed $10,000). To qualify, patients must have commercial/private insurance and a household income of $100,000 or less.

Phone:(800) 931-8691; website:www.celgenepatientsupport.com.

  • Abraxane (paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectible suspension) (albumin bound)
  • Pomalyst (pomalidomide)
  • Revlimid (lenalidomide)
  • Thalomid (thalidomide)
Free Medication Program

Patients who do not have insurance coverage for a Celgene medication prescribed by their physicians may be eligible for this program. Patients must meet financial criteria to be eligible for assistance. Program eligibility is based on household income and assets. Phone:(800) 931-8691; website:www.celgenepatientsupport.com/free_medication_program.aspx.

  • Abraxane (paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectible suspension) (albumin bound)
  • Istodax (romidepsin) for injection
  • Pomalyst (pomalidomide)
  • Revlimid (lenalidomide)
  • Thalomid (thalidomide)
  • Vidaza (azacitidine)
Covis Pharmaceuticals, Inc

Covis Patient Assistance Program The Covis Patient Assistance Program helps US citizens or residents who do not have a healthcare plan or have been denied coverage for treatment.

Phone: (877) 438-9759; website: www.covispharma.com/patient_assistance.html.
  • Nilandron (nilutamide)
DARA BioSciences, Inc No Coupon, No Copay, No Hassles Program This program is intended to reduce or eliminate financial outlays by offsetting patient out-of-pocket copay expenses, and will be applied automatically to qualified prescriptions at more than 43,000 pharmacies nationwide. Additional paperwork, coupons, or electronic input is not required by patients, healthcare providers, or pharmacists. Phone:(919) 872-5578; website:www.darabio.com.
  • Gelclair (bioadherent oral rinse gel)
  • Soltamox (tamoxifen citrate)
Dendreon Corporation Provenge Patient Assistance Program Dendreon is committed to helping patients who are eligible for treatment gain access to patient assistance through the Provenge Patient Assistance Program. Patients may be eligible to access PROvide––the Provenge (sipuleucel-T) commercial copay program that provides financial assistance for copays, coinsurance, and deductible costs. For eligible patients who do not have coverage for Provenge, Dendreon provides Provenge free of charge. Phone:(877) 336-3736; website:www.provengereimbursement.com/patient-assistance.aspx.
  • Provenge (sipuleucel-T)
Eisai Inc Eisai Oncology Patient Assistance Program The Eisai Oncology Patient Assistance Program provides medications free of charge to US residents who lack access to prescription drug coverage and meet specific financial criteria. Phone:(866) 613-4724; website:www.eisaipatientassistance.com.
  • Aloxi (palonosetron hydrochloride) injection
  • Halaven (eribulin mesylate) injection
Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc Endo Patient Assistance Program The Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc patient assistance program offers free medications to patients who otherwise cannot afford them. Patients must meet financial and other program-specific criteria to be eligible for assistance. Phone:(800) 462-3636; website:www.endo.com/endopharma/about-us/u-s-patient-assistance.
  • Valstar (valrubicin)
  • Vantas (histrelin) implant
Genentech, Inc Genentech Access to Care Foundation The Genentech Access to Care Foundation helps patients receive medications for free if they do not have a healthcare plan or have been denied coverage for treatment. Patients must have a household-adjusted income of $100,000 or less annually. Phone:(888) 249-4918; website:www.genentech-access.com.
  • Avastin (bevacizumab)
  • Erivedge (vismodegib)
  • Gazyva (obinutuzumab)
  • Herceptin (trastuzumab)
  • Perjeta (pertuzumab)
  • Rituxan (rituximab)
  • Tarceva (erlotinib)
  • Xeloda (capecitabine)
  • Zelboraf (vemurafenib)
Genentech BioOncology Copay Card

The BioOncology Copay Card helps qualified patients with their out-of-pocket prescription costs. Eligible patients must be aged ≥18 years and must be covered by commercial insurance. Phone:(855) 692-6729; www.genentech-access.com.

  • Avastin (bevacizumab)
  • Erivedge (vismodegib)
  • Gazyva (obinutuzumab)
  • Herceptin (trastuzumab)
  • Perjeta (pertuzumab)
  • Rituxan (rituximab)
  • Tarceva (erlotinib)
  • Xeloda (capecitabine)
  • Zelboraf (vemurafenib)
Gilead Sciences, Inc Zydelig AccessConnect The Zydelig AccessConnect program provides Zydelig (idelalisib) at no charge to eligible patients with no other insurance options. Phone:(844) 622-2377; website:www.gilead.com/responsibility/us-patient-access/zydelig.
  • Zydelig (idelalisib)
Zydelig Copay Coupon Program

The Zydelig Copay Coupon Program provides copay assistance for eligible patients with private insurance who need assistance paying for their out-of-pocket medication costs. Most patients will pay no more than $5 per monthly copay. Phone:(844) 622-2377; website:www.activatethecard.com/zydelig.

  • Zydelig (idelalisib)
GlaxoSmithKline Commitment to Access Program GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)’s patient assistance program supports access to GSK’s oncology and certain specialty pharmacy drugs at little or no cost to qualified patients. Phone:(866) 265-6491; website:www.gskcta.com.
  • Arranon (nelarabine)
  • Arzerra (ofatumumab)
  • Bexxar (tositumomab)
  • Hycamtin (topotecan) capsules
  • Hycamtin (topotecan hydrochloride) for injection
  • Leukeran (chlorambucil)
  • Mekinist (trametinib)
  • Myleran (busulfan)
  • Promacta (eltrombopag)
  • Tafinlar (dabrafenib)
  • Tykerb (lapatinib)
  • Votrient (pazopanib)
  • Zofran (ondansetron hydrochloride)
Copay Assistance Program

The GSK Copay Assistance Program is available to those individuals with commercial prescription coverage who satisfy income and other eligibility requirements. Phone:(866) 265-6491; website:www.gsk-access.com.

  • Arranon (nelarabine)
  • Arzerra (ofatumumab)
  • Bexxar (tositumomab)
  • Hycamtin (topotecan) capsules
  • Hycamtin (topotecan hydrochloride) for injection
  • Leukeran (chlorambucil)
  • Mekinist (trametinib)
  • Myleran (busulfan)
  • Promacta (eltrombopag)
  • Tafinlar (dabrafenib)
  • Tykerb (lapatinib)
  • Votrient (pazopanib)
  • Zofran (ondansetron hydrochloride)
Incyte Corporation IncyteCARES Patient Assistance Program The IncyteCARES (Connecting to Access, Reimbursement, Education, and Support) Patient Assistance Program helps individuals who do not have a healthcare plan. The program can also help patients whose plans have turned them down for Jakafi (ruxolitinib) treatment.

Patients with private or commercial prescription insurance may be eligible to receive Jakafi for no more than $50 monthly, depending on their income.

Phone:(855) 452-5234; website:www.jakafi.com/incytecares.com.
  • Jakafi (ruxolitinib)
Janssen Janssen Prescription Assistance Janssen Prescription Assistance provides financial help to individuals who have difficulty affording their medications. Phone:(800) 526-7736; website:www.janssenprescriptionassistance.com.
  • Doxil (doxorubicin hydrochloride liposome) injection
  • Procrit (epoetin alfa)
  • Sylvant (siltuximab)
  • Zytiga (abiraterone acetate)
Johnson & Johnson Johnson & Johnson Patient Assistance Foundation, Inc The Johnson & Johnson Patient Assistance Foundation, Inc assists patients without adequate financial resources and prescription drug coverage in obtaining free medications donated by the operating companies of Johnson & Johnson. There is 1 application for all agents, and patients may receive free medicines for up to 1 year. Phone:(800) 652-6227; website:www.jjpaf.org/index.html. Lilly USA, LLC PatientOne PatientOne addresses financial and coverage issues for qualified uninsured, underinsured, and insured patients who are prescribed a Lilly oncology drug. PatientOne can help provide replacement vials for ongoing therapy to qualified uninsured patients who earn up to 500% of the federal poverty level. In addition, PatientOne provides assistance to insured patients whose claims for a Lilly oncology drug have been denied by their insurer. Certain eligibility requirements apply. Approved drug requests are conveniently shipped to the physician’s office. Phone:(866) 472-8663; website:www.lillypatientone.com.
  • Alimta (pemetrexed)
  • Erbitux (cetuximab); comarketed with Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Gemzar (gemcitabine hydrochloride)
  • Cyramza (ramucirumab injection)
Merck and Co, Inc ACT Program The ACT Program provides free reimbursement support services to help answer questions related to insurance coverage and reimbursement. The ACT Program also refers patients to the patient assistance program, which provides certain Merck medicines free of charge to eligible patients who do not have insurance coverage. Many Merck medications are included in this program. Phone:(866) 363-6379; website:www.merck.com/merckhelps. Merck Copay Assistance Program

The Merck Copay Assistance Program is available to eligible, privately insured patients who may need help affording their copay on certain Merck oncology drugs. Phone:(855) 263-1774; website:www.merck.com/merckhelps.

  • Emend (aprepitant)
  • Emend (fosaprepitant dimeglumine) for injection
  • Intron A (interferon alfa-2b, recombinant) for injection
  • Sylatron (peginterferon alfa-2b) for injection
  • Temodar (temozolomide)
  • Temodar (temozolomide) for injection
  • Zolinza (vorinostat)
Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc Velcade Patient Assistance Program Patients without insurance coverage for Velcade (bortezomib) may be eligible to participate in the Velcade Patient Assistance Program. For qualifying patients, Velcade will be delivered free of charge to the treating physician. The Velcade Patient Assistance Program will reimburse up to a 12-month supply of Velcade if enrolled patients lose their insurance and continue to receive care. Drug replacement may be available for eligible patients who have been denied insurance coverage. Phone:(866) 835-2233; website:www.velcade-hcp.com/reimbursement.
  • Velcade (bortezomib)

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation Novartis Oncology Patient Assistance Foundation, Inc The Novartis Oncology Patient Assistance Foundation, Inc provides assistance to patients who experience financial hardship and who have no third-party insurance coverage for their medications.

Phone:(800) 277-2254; website:www.patientassistancenow.com.

  • Afinitor (everolimus) tablets
  • Exjade (deferasirox)
  • Femara (letrozole) tablets
  • Gleevec (imatinib mesylate) tablets
  • Sandostatin LAR Depot (octreotide acetate) for injectable suspension
  • Sandostatin (octreotide acetate) for injection
  • Tasigna (nilotinib) tablets
  • Zometa (zoledronic acid) injection
  • Zykadia (ceritinib)

Patient Assistance NOW Oncology Program

The Novartis Patient Assistance NOW Oncology program offers quick and easy access to information about the many reimbursement and support programs available to patients. Patients with private insurance or without prescription coverage may be eligible to receive copay discount cards on certain medications.

Phone:(800) 282-7630; website:www.oncologyaccessnow.com.
  • Afinitor (everolimus) tablets
  • Exjade (deferasirox)
  • Gleevec (imatinib mesylate) tablets
  • Sandostatin LAR Depot (octreotide acetate) for injectable suspension
  • Sandostatin (octreotide acetate) for injection
  • Tasigna (nilotinib) tablets
  • Zometa (zoledronic acid) injection
  • Zykadia (ceritinib)
Onyx Pharmaceuticals
Onyx 360

This comprehensive, personalized program is designed to support providers and patients (who meet certain eligibility criteria) with free medication assistance for uninsured patients or those rendered uninsured through payer denial.

Phone:(855) 669-9360; website:www.onyx.com/therapies/patient-access/onyx-360.
  • Kyprolis (carfilzomib) for injection
  • Nexavar (sorafenib) tablets
Pfizer, Inc

RxPathways
Pfizer RxPathways may help patients without insurance coverage get their Pfizer medications for free. If patients meet eligibility requirements, RxPathways can also provide copay assistance to patients who have prescription coverage, but cannot afford their coinsurance or have been denied coverage.

Phone:(866) 706-2400; website:www.pfizerrxpathways.com/?step=1.
  • Aromasin (exemestane) tablets
  • Bosulif (bosutinib) tablets
  • Camptosar (irinotecan hydrochloride) injection
  • Ellence (epirubicin hydrochloride) injection
  • Emcyt (estramustine phosphate sodium) capsules
  • Idamycin (idarubicin hydrochloride) for injection, USP
  • Inlyta (axitinib) tablets
  • Neumega (oprelvekin)
  • Sutent (sunitinib malate)
  • Torisel (temsirolimus) injection
  • Xalkori (crizotinib) capsules
  • Zinecard (dexrazoxane) for injection
Pharmacyclics Imbruvica YOU&i Support Program Patients with commercial insurance and who meet certain eligibility requirements pay no more than $10 monthly for Imbruvica (ibrutinib). Eligible patients prescribed Imbruvica for an FDA-approved indication, and who are experiencing an insurance coverage delay greater than 5 business days, can receive a free, 30-day supply of Imbruvica. Under appropriate circumstances, an additional free, 30-day supply of Imbruvica may be provided. Phone:(877) 877-3536; website:www.imbruvica.com/youandi.
  • Imbruvica (ibrutinib)
Prometheus Prometheus IV Bolus Proleukin Inpatient Reimbursement Hotline As part of their commitment to ensure that all eligible patients have access to Proleukin (aldesleukin), the Prometheus IV Bolus Proleukin Inpatient Reimbursement Hotline is staffed with specialists who can help resolve specific access and reimbursement issues for patients and physicians. Phone:(877) 776-5385; website:www.proleukin.com/health-care-professional/resources/.
  • Proleukin (aldesleukin)
ProStrakan Patient Rx Solutions Patient Rx Solutions is designed to assist uninsured individuals and those who have no public or private prescription coverage. ProStrakan also offers copay assistance to eligible individuals with private insurance. Phone:(866) 676-5884; website:www.patientrxsolutions.com
  • Fareston (toremifene citrate)
  • Sancuso (granisetron transdermal system)
Sanofi Oncology Sanofi Patient Connection Through the Sanofi Foundation of North America, Sanofi Patient Connection provides medications free of charge to patients who have no insurance coverage or who are considered to be functionally uninsured. Phone:(888) 847-4877; website:www.visitspconline.com.
  • Elitek (rasburicase)
  • Eloxatin (oxaliplatin)
  • Jevtana (cabazitaxel)
  • Leukine (sargramostim)
  • Mozobil (plerixafor)
  • Taxotere (docetaxel) for injection
  • Thymoglobulin (antithymocyte globulin [rabbit])
  • Zaltrap (ziv-aflibercept)
Seattle Genetics SeaGen Secure Patient Assistance Program SeaGen Secure is a comprehensive assistance program for uninsured and underinsured patients who have been prescribed Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin). Phone:(855) 473-2436; website:www.seagensecure.com.
  • Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin)
Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals, Inc

SOS Copay Assistance Program
Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals, Inc is offering the SOS (Sigma-Tau Outreach Services) Copay Assistance program for patients taking Oncaspar (pegaspargase) to reduce the out-of-pocket costs of Oncaspar. Eligible patients who enroll in this program may obtain copay assistance through the electronic benefit cards or checks.

Phone:(855) 497-3366; website:www.sigmatau.com/support/support_oncaspar.asp.
  • Oncaspar (pegaspargase)
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc

STAR
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc is committed to providing appropriate patient access to care. STAR (Spectrum Therapy Access Resources) includes a copay assistance program to assist privately insured patients (who meet the STAR eligibility criteria) with copay and coinsurance responsibilities related to certain Spectrum medications. In addition, the STAR program includes a patient assistance program that provides Spectrum medications free of charge to enrolled patients who meet the income, insurance, and citizenship/residency eligibility criteria.

Phone:(888) 537-8277; website:www.getasapinfo.com.
  • Folotyn (pralatrexate) injection
  • Fusilev (levoleucovorin)
  • Marqibo (vincristine sulfate liposome) injection
  • Zevalin (ibritumomab tiuxetan)
Teva Oncology

Comprehensive Oncology Reimbursement Expertise
Comprehensive Oncology Reimbursement Expertise supports patients and providers through programs for eligible patients treated in the United States who do not have insurance, cannot afford their out-of-pocket copay costs, or need assistance with reimbursement issues.

Phone:(888) 587-3263; website:www.tevacore.com.

Note: The author conducted a thorough search to identify leading oncology-related manufacturer patient assistance programs; however, this is not intended to be a fully comprehensive list.

Government Assistance

There are a number of government programs that provide assistance and resources to individuals and families. These benefits are primarily set up for low-income households, the elderly, and the disabled. Each program has specific eligibility requirements. There are also programs administered through state governments that can help with healthcare-related needs. Government assistance programs include:

BenefitsCheckUp (National Council on Aging)

BenefitsCheckUp helps individuals aged ≥55 years find programs that may cover some of their prescription drug costs, healthcare expenses, and other services. Phone:(202) 479-1200; website:www.benefitscheckup.org.

Compassionate Allowances (Social Security Administration)

Compassionate Allowances are a way of quickly identifying diseases and other medical conditions that invariably qualify under the Listing of Impairments based on minimal objective medical information. Compassionate Allowances allow Social Security to quickly target the most obviously disabled individuals for allowances.

Phone:(800) 772-1213; website:www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/.

Extra Help (Social Security Administration)

Medicare beneficiaries may qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs. Extra Help is estimated to be worth about $4000 annually. To qualify for Extra Help, an individual must receive Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in 1 of the 50 states or in the District of Columbia.

Phone: (800) 772-1213; website:www.ssa.gov/medicare/prescriptionhelp/.

Hill-Burton Free and Reduced-Cost Healthcare (Health Resources and Services Administration)

More than 160 healthcare facilities nationwide provide free or reduced-cost care as mandated by the Hill-Burton Act. Patients are eligible to apply for Hill-Burton free care if their income is at or below the current Health & Human Services Poverty Guidelines.

Phone:(800) 638-0742; website:www.hrsa.gov/gethealthcare/affordable/hillburton/.

Patient Travel and Lodging Program (Office of Rare Diseases, National Institutes of Health)

This resource provides links to charitable or special fare flights to research and treatment sites, hospitality houses for patients and their families, and fee-for-service ambulance services.

Phone:(301) 402-4336; website:http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/resources/5#category17.

Resources for Financial Assistance for Cancer Patients and Their Families (National Cancer Institute)

This resource contains a database of government agencies and national organizations that provide financial assistance to patients with cancer and their families. In addition, it provides information about patient assistance programs.

Phone:(800) 422-6237; website:www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/financial-legal.

Understanding Prescription Assistance Programs (National Council on Patient Information and Education)
This website provides resources for getting the right information about prescription assistance programs.

Phone:(301) 340-3940; website:www.talkaboutrx.org/paps.jsp.

Note: This newsletter is based on a thorough search conducted to identify government assistance programs; however, it is not intended to be a comprehensive list.

Summary

For patients with cancer and their families and caregivers, understanding the care delivery and payment process for cancer treatment can be daunting. We live in an era of unprecedented clinical advances in the treatment of cancer; however, costs have also risen sharply. As a result, patient support services are critical to helping patients with cancer navigate financial considerations in paying for care, especially cancer therapeutics.

Many public and private organizations offer financial assistance to patients with cancer who are in need. Many foundations and nonprofit entities have copayment programs to provide financial assistance to eligible patients. Other organizations serve as resources to help patients identify sources of funding. Furthermore, many pharmaceutical companies offer financial assistance to uninsured and underinsured patients. Virtually all of these programs have dedicated websites and toll-free contact numbers, making them easily accessible to patients and oncology practices.

As cancer innovation continues and accelerates in the coming years, the need for patient support services is more important than ever and will remain essential in the foreseeable future.

References

  1. Patel JD, Krilov L, Adams S, et al. Clinical cancer advances 2013: annual report on progress against cancer from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.J Clin Oncol.2014;32:129-160.
  2. National Cancer Institute. Managing the nation’s cancer research portfolio: professional judgment budget 2013. www.cancer.gov/aboutnci/budget_planning_leg/plan-2013. Accessed August 20, 2014.
  3. IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Innovation in Cancer Care and Implications for Health Systems: Global Oncology Trend Report. May 2014. www.imshealth.com/portal/site/imshealth/menuitem.762a961826aad98f53c753c71ad8c22a/?vgnextoid=f8d4df7a5e8b5410VgnVCM10000076192ca2RCRD. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  4. McKee AE, Farrell AT, Pazdur R, Woodcock J. The role of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration review process: clinical trial endpoints in oncology.Oncologist.2010;15(suppl 1):13-18.
  5. Express Scripts. The 2013 Drug Trend Report. April 2014. http://lab.express- scripts.com/~/media/pdfs/drug%20trend%20report/express%20scripts%202013%20drug%20trend%20report.ashx. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  6. Harvard School of Public Health. Four in 10 Americans say they have trouble paying for drugs or skip prescriptions or cut pills due to cost. Press release. March 4, 2008. www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/poll-usa-today-kaiser-harvard-prescription-drugs/. Accessed August 20, 2014.
  7. Tseng CW, Dudley RA, Brook RH, et al. Elderly patients’ preferences and experiences with providers in managing their drug costs.J Am Geriatr Soc.2007;55:1974-1980.
  8. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser health tracking poll: public opinion on health care issues. September 2009. http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/7990.pdf. Accessed August 21, 2014.
  9. J Levy. Gallup. In U.S., uninsured rate lowest since 2008: uninsured rate declines most among blacks and lower-income Americans. April 7, 2014. www.gallup.com/poll/168248/uninsured-rate-lowest-2008.aspx. Accessed August 20, 2014.
  10. Cubanski J, Neuman P. Status report on Medicare Part D enrollment in 2006: analysis of plan-specific market share and coverage.Health Aff (Millwood).2007;26:w1-w12.
  11. Goldman DP, Joyce GF, Zheng Y. Prescription drug cost sharing: associations with medication and medical utilization and spending and health.JAMA.2007;298:61-69.
  12. Hsu J, Price M, Huang J, et al. Unintended consequences of caps on Medicare drug benefits.N Engl J Med.2006;354:2349-2359.

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