2020 Guide to Patient Support Services

Growing Numbers of Support Services Provided by Pharmaceutical Companies

Oncology drugs constitute a large share of US pharmaceutical innovation and investment, requiring an enormous expense to sustain the growing scientific innovations in immunotherapies, cell therapies, and genomic profiling. With all these exciting developments in cancer therapies, patients are often left to carry a large portion of the astronomical costs associated with such innovations, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars for 1 drug.

The good news is that the growing focus on the patient voice in cancer care has reached the pharmaceutical industry, resulting in an increasing number of support services now offered by many drug companies, including new and emerging biopharmaceutical companies. It is obvious that patients are unable to carry the enormous financial burden associated with those life-saving medicines, and, as was famously said years ago, drugs that are not being used are useless, regardless of how great their clinical benefit.

While the government is raising its voice about the excessive cost of medicines in the United States, the pharmaceutical industry has devised an often well-kept secret of helping patients to pay for their expensive cancer medicines. Alas, this information is not always reaching patients, and even oncologists or other members of the oncology care team are not always familiar with the wealth of support services offered by pharmaceutical companies for patients in need.

Financial toxicity is no longer a fancy term; it is now a familiar concept in medicine. Therefore, it is paramount that all oncology providers and oncology practices discuss with their patients the cost of the medicines they prescribe; furthermore, it is incumbent on all providers to make sure that help is available for their patients to find financial support and to assist them with completing the necessary documents, which are often not easy to process.

We all know that many patients with commercial or government insurance can face serious financial barriers as a result of insufficient drug coverage; high out-of-pocket copays, coinsurance, or deductibles; the high cost of transportation to and from cancer centers; and the potential loss of employment after a cancer diagnosis.

To address these challenges, we offer financial counselors and oncology practices the Sixth Annual Oncology Guide to Patient Support Services, which provides a comprehensive manual to assist them in helping their patients navigate the cost of oncology therapies.

Many drug companies continue to improve their support services, simplify the application process, and provide special counselors to help providers and patients access the support they need to be able to afford their medications and use them appropriately for their life-threatening conditions.

This latest edition of the Guide provides important updates on the many new programs and support services offered by the drug companies discussed here, including the many novel cancer drugs and new indications for existing drugs approved in 2019. This updated Guide reflects the growing focus of drug companies on affordable access to their cancer medications.

We urge all cancer care providers and oncology practices to review this information and share it with your patients.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The company profiles in this Guide are based on information that was available on the respective pharmaceutical companies’ websites as of December 10, 2019. Any support services or information updated after that date will not appear in this publication. Every effort has been made to verify the information up to the publication date. The Publisher and the Editors are not responsible for any inaccuracies stemming from changes, new drug approvals, or company updates that became available after that date. Readers are advised to review the websites of each company profile for any potential updates and revisions posted after December 10, 2019.

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