We believe that all treatment decisions for those dealing with lung cancer should be made by physicians and their patients. These treatment decisions should be based upon a broad range of factors among which includes personal medical history and performance status. Financial considerations should not dictate or interfere with a physician’s proposed treatment protocols.
There are fewer treatment options for lung cancer than most major cancers. Intravenous chemotherapy has historically been the most frequently used treatment regimen for late stage disease. Increasingly, however, oral chemotherapies have emerged as a treatment option for lung cancer and this trend is expected to continue. These medications have been in development for years and are now quickly becoming an effective means of reducing the spread of lung and other cancers.
In many cases, these oral chemotherapies not only positively impact the time of survival for lung cancer patients, but also allow survivors to spend that time doing things they love and not being hooked up to an IV in a hospital.
The positive medical impact of these drugs should be available to all patients who fit the criteria. Unfortunately, due to higher levels of cost sharing for these drugs and thus a substantial out of pocket cost, some patients are unable to cover the cost of the medicine and face financial crisis on top of an already devastating diagnosis of lung cancer.
For this reason, we support efforts underway across the country to ensure that health plans provide coverage for intravenous and oral chemotherapies that do not disadvantage one over the other.