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Multiple Myeloma

Understanding the Financial Aspects Associated with Treatment

As the typical myeloma patient population is older, Gary Peterson addresses the financial challenges for seniors and paying for medications.
Video Library – February 5, 2016
Gary Petersen

I think one of the things that people in general have, if they have multiple myeloma, generally they're older than other people. I think the average age is 69 years old, and most of us at that age suffer from a little bit of cognitive dysfunction, shall we say.

Now if you throw on a little bit of dexamethasone, thalidomide, melphalan, stem cell transplants, and that kind of thing, you have a little chemo brain along with that. Obviously, there is a cognitive issue that you've got to deal with.

The second thing is, on some of them — one of them which is an oral inhibitor is that most of people -- again, are in that 70-year-old age range, and because of that, they're on Medicare. When you're on Medicare, you do go through the doughnut hole, which is not that big a deal.

There's LLS that will cover the first $10,000, so if you happen to be on one oral medication, it's pretty much covered by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society who also handles myeloma.

I think one of the things is to educate the patient on how to find this additional help with this medication, because I think it's a great one. I think it's better than the injection, and/or the IV, but the issue is going to be the cost. Now, the drug company can in fact provide as much as, and I think that they're going to do that, a lot of money for co-pay assistance, but that's only with commercial insurance.

Unfortunately, maybe 30 percent of the people with myeloma have commercial insurance. The rest have Medicare, so I think what we have is, we have a legislature that's just out of touch with the Medicare, and AARP generation, shall we say.
I don't quite understand it, why there's such a hole in it. It just makes no sense to me. I'd say something really negative about our law makers, but I think they've got plenty of that going on right now anyway.

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Last modified: October 5, 2017

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