The financial hardships of a serious illness can be daunting. Even for those with health insurance, the medical bills and pharmacy costs can accumulate, along with a potential loss of income while treating and recovering from a disease.
In a recent survey of nearly 500 people after successful colorectal cancer treatment, financial challenges were reported by four in 10 patients. This same proportion of people similarly noted that their concerns about home finances created stress, which of course piled on to the stress of facing cancer. These financial stressors correlated with a decrease in quality of life for patients.
Study after study shows that the financial burdens of treating serious health problems does in fact impact quality of life and even health outcomes. This financial burden – which is often referred to as financial toxicity – is a growing concern for patients and their families. In fact, patients may even delay treatment due to cost concerns. In one survey of 609 individuals with chronic hepatitis C, fully one-third were not currently being treated specifically due to cost concerns. This is unacceptable.
Overcoming financial challenges is one of the ways BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy supports our patients during the treatment process. Our patient financial assistance department works to ensure that financial barriers are overcome so patient treatment can both start and continue. In just three quarters of 2017 we connected oncology patients with $30 million in patient assistance, in the form of grants, co-pay assistance, and donations. We take our responsibility seriously in assisting and supporting patients with ways to connect with financial resources. In short, we aim to resolve financial toxicity issues while treating a patient’s disease.
Sharp L, O’Leary E, O’Ceilleachair A, Skally M, Hanly P. Financial impact of colorectal cancer and its consequences: associations between cancer-related financial stress and strain and health-related quality of life. Dis Colon Rectum 2018;61:27-35.
Survey: Hepatitis C patients delay treatment due to cost concerns. Health Union October 4, 2017.