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PSSGuide_2020
Esophageal CancerHead & Neck Cancer

Drugs for Head & Neck Cancer/Esophageal Cancer

Here are the drugs and financial support services available to patients receiving treatment for Head & Neck Cancer/Esophageal Cancer.

Erbitux (cetuximab)

Drug company: Eli Lilly
866-472-8663

Erbitux is an EGFR antagonist used for the treatment of patients with locally or regionally advanced squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck, in combination with radiation therapy; recurrent locoregional disease or metastatic squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck, in combination with platinum-based therapy with 5-fluorouracil; and recurrent or metastatic squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck, progressing after platinum-based therapy.

Lilly PatientOne offers 2 financial assistance programs for patients using Erbitux:

Lilly PatientOne Co-pay Program

For patients with private insurance who cannot afford their copay, this program provides up to $25,000 annually so that the patient pays no more than $25 per dose of Erbitux.

Lilly Cares Foundation Patient Assistance Program

For eligible patients with no medical insurance (or those whose insurance does not cover drug therapy) and who have an annual household income of up to $62,450 for 1 person; $84,550 for 2 people; $106,650 for 3 people; $128,750 for 4 people; $150,850 for 5 people; $172,950 for 6 people, this program provides Erbitux at no cost.

Keytruda (pembrolizumab)

Drug company: Merck
855-257-3932

Keytruda is a PD-1 inhibitor used, in combination with chemotherapy, for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or unresectable (can’t be removed by surgery) head and neck squamous-cell cancer (HNSCC). Keytruda is also used alone for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or with unresectable, recurrent HNSCC with PD-L1 expression, as determined by an FDA-approved test; and for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic HNSCC with disease progression during or after platinum-containing chemotherapy.

In addition, Keytruda is used for the treatment of patients with recurrent, locally advanced or metastatic squamous-cell carcinoma of the esophagus that expresses PD-L1, as determined by an FDA-approved test, in patients whose disease progressed after 1 or more systemic therapies.

TThe Merck Access Program offers 2 financial assistance programs for patients using Keytruda:

Merck Co-pay Assistance Program

Privately insured patients will pay the first $25 of their copay per Keytruda infusion. The maximum benefit per calendar year is $25,000.

Merck Patient Assistance Program

Patients without insurance or prescription coverage may be eligible to receive free Keytruda. Eligible patients must have a household income of $62,450 or less for individuals, $84,550 or less for a couple, or $128,750 or less for a family of 4. Patients with insurance, including Medicare Part D, who still have trouble paying for their medicines may request that an exception be made, provided their household income is not above a set limit.

Opdivo (nivolumab)

Drug company: Bristol-Myers Squibb
800-861-0048

Opdivo is a PD-1 inhibitor used for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Access Support offers 2 financial assistance programs for patients using Opdivo:

BMS Oncology Co-Pay Assistance Program

This program provides financial assistance with the out-of-pocket deductibles, copay, or coinsurance costs for eligible, privately insured patients who have been prescribed Opdivo. Patients pay a $25 copay, while BMS covers the remaining amount, up to $25,000 annually per medication.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Patient Assistance Foundation

Patients who don’t have public or private insurance that helps to pay for Opdivo, may be eligible for help paying for their prescription medication if they receive treatment as an outpatient and have an annual income of less than 300% of the federal poverty level, up to $37,470 for an individual or $50,730 for a family of 2.

Table. Drugs Prescribed for Head and Neck Cancer

  • Drug name (generic name)
  • Drug company
  • Indication
  • Patient support services

    Drug name (generic name)
  • Erbitux (cetuximab)
  • Drug company
  • Eli Lilly
  • Indication
  • Advanced squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck, in combination with
    radiation therapy

    Recurrent locoregional or ­metastatic squamous-cell ­carcinoma of the head and neck, in combination with platinum-based therapy with 5-fluorouracil

    Recurrent or metastatic squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck, progressing after platinum-based therapy
  • Patient support services
  • Lilly PatientOne Co-pay Program
    866-472-8663

    Lilly Cares Foundation Patient Assistance Program
    800-545-6962

    Drug name (generic name)
  • Keytruda (pembrolizumab)
  • Drug company
  • Merck
  • Indication
  • First-line treatment, in combination with chemotherapy, of metastatic or unresectable head and neck cancer
    First-line treatment, alone, of metastatic or unresectable, recurrent head and neck cancer with PD-L1 expression, as determined by an FDA-approved test
    Treatment of recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer that progressed during or after platinum-containing chemotherapy
    Treatment of recurrent, locally advanced or metastatic squamous-cell carcinoma of the esophagus that expresses PD-L1, as determined by an FDA-approved test, and that progressed after 1 or more systemic therapies
  • Patient support services
  • Merck Co-pay Assistance Program
    855-257-3932

    Merck Patient Assistance Program
    855-257-3932


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Last modified: April 13, 2020

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