When Costs Create a Barrier

Cancer treatment options continue to improve the chances of survival for cancer patients across the board, which is excellent news! However, the costs of treatment can sometimes keep treatment out of reach for patients; it’s a heartbreaking situation when finances interfere with treatment access. Just how often do financial barriers actually get in the way…

Cost Concerns

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…

Let’s Screen Everyone

Too many people infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) simply don’t know their disease status. As many as one in four cases of HCV infection are undiagnosed, as I pointed out in a blog earlier this year (Finding the Missing Cases), even when current federal guidelines for hepatitis C screening are closely followed. This…

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Treatment Choices

Early treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, studies show, pays off for patients in terms of long-term quality of life and a lower chance of later needing joint replacements. I can attest to this with a more personal perspective. Just yesterday I visited with my aunt who happens to have severe rheumatoid arthritis. For the past seven…

Managing Hepatitis C Treatment Costs

Manufacturer coupons for high-cost medications, such as those that treat hepatitis C, make a huge difference for patients. Today’s hepatitis C medications have the potential to cure the majority of infected people; however, they can come with a steep price tag for both patients and payers. In order to bring down excessively high cost shares…

Smoothing the Path

Medication adherence continues to be a challenge for the health care community. Successful treatment of disease simply cannot occur if patients are not adherent to medications. In addition, non-adherence leads to systemic waste. For example, up to 10% of all money spent on health care is attributed to avoidable health care costs linked to nonadherence….

Cost and Value

Where does the true value of cancer treatment lie? Oncology experts grapple with this important question, with one of the more recent people to chime in being Robert C. Young, M.D., of RCY Medicine in Philadelphia, in an essay in a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Young reviews several initiatives…

The True Cost

Infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) remains a leading cause of liver cancer in the United States. Treatments now available for HCV can cure upwards of 90% of patients; however, the high price tag of these HCV treatments can serve as an obstacle to these medications reaching all infected people. Yet, there is a…

Coping With ‘Financial Toxicity’

Multiple myeloma, a type of cancer affecting the bone marrow, will be diagnosed in an estimated 27,000 Americans this year. Advances in research are expanding treatment options and improving outcomes in multiple myeloma patients, but these new medications often come with a higher price point. The expensive treatments for this disease have triggered alarming developments:…

When Price Stands in the Way

Medication non-adherence can be traced back to numerous causes. For some patients, the side effects of a given medication become too burdensome. Sometimes it is simple forgetfulness that keeps a patient from faithfully taking all prescribed treatment. And then there is the cost burden of treatment. Price barriers account for a significant slice of the…

World Hepatitis Day

One of the key messages of today July 28th, World Hepatitis Day, is simply this: hepatitis C is a preventable and treatable disease. The World Health Organization created World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness about the massive number of people already infected with one of several hepatitis viruses, including the hepatitis C, and how anyone…

Compliance in the Long Haul

Treating cancer is not always about a cure, sometimes it is more realistic to aim for controlling it long term as a chronic condition, which is a topic I explored earlier this year in Cancer Cure Vs. Control. It can be appropriate in some cases to control cancer with the goal of keeping it from…

What If A Pill Doesn’t Make It Easier?

At first glance, it would seem like a slam-dunk idea: improve patient medication adherence by switching from an injectable medication to an oral one. An easy-to-swallow pill must be better than an uncomfortable needle stick, one would assume. Yet this is not necessarily the case. For example, with multiple sclerosis, many patients actually stick to…

Staying With the Patient

Medication adherence issues account for a significant portion of avoidable health care costs each year, through drug waste, treatment failure, and medical complications. Identifying ways to improve adherence ripples out positively throughout the health care system – benefiting the patient, payers, and all other key players. The pharmacy model at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy focuses on…

Making Assumptions

Many physicians would likely be surprised to learn that their patients are not as faithful at taking important medications as they think. Medication adherence continues to be a drain on optimal treatment outcomes for serious diseases. HealthPrize Technologies, an industry-leading medication adherence and digital patient engagement company, recently surveyed physicians about adherence. The physicians surveyed…

Biosimilars: Close to the Real Thing

The issue of “biosimilar” medications has been under debate for years. Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is on the cusp of approving the first biosimilar. In case you don’t know, biosimilars are less expensive versions of already approved biological medications used for cancer, autoimmune, and other diseases. Biologic medications are typically large…