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OncologyRx Care Advantage(TM) Specialty Pharmacy Passes $15 Million Milestone in Patient Financial Assistance
Date:7/9/2009

THE WOODLANDS, Texas, July 9 /PRNewswire/ -- US Oncology, Inc. today announced that OncologyRx Care Advantage(TM), its national oral oncology specialty pharmacy service, has exceeded the $15 million mark and has assisted more than 3,300 patients in obtaining external support for drug co-pays since the launch of Care Advantage in August 2006.

"We are thrilled that we have been able to serve as a positive resource to help so many cancer patients obtain lifesaving treatments," says Diane Collom, associate director of the Business Office for OncologyRx Care Advantage. "Increasing numbers of patients either choose, or are forced, to go without treatment due to the high cost. Our service helps those patients stay on therapy by seeking funds to offset their cost."

In the last eight months, OncologyRx Care Advantage has helped more than 1,300 patients receive more than $5 million in financial assistance from charitable foundations. The US Oncology pharmacy announced it had reached the $10 million mark in November 2008.

Cancer imposes heavy economic burdens on patients and their families. For those with coverage, health insurance plans pay for a large portion of their medical expenses, "but with the high cost of oral therapies, co-pays can still remain high. Even people with health insurance find themselves in need of financial assistance while undergoing cancer care simply because of the high cost of care." says Collom.

With cancer on the rise, and a higher than usual unemployment rate, finding funds for cancer patients is more important today than ever before. OncologyRx Care Advantage works with various foundations to find co-pay assistance for cancer patients in need. This service helps to relieve the laborious process from community-based oncology practice staff so that they can spend more time caring for the patient. The professionals at Care Advantage are savvy in matching the needs of the patient to the appropriate funding opportunities. Care Advantage pharmacy services are available to all community-based oncology practices throughout the United States and in Puerto Rico.

Nearly two-thirds of the $15 million supplied to cancer patients through OncologyRx Care Advantage came from the Chronic Disease Fund, which raises funds with the sole intent of assisting people with chronic diseases so that they can afford to remain on their recommended treatment schedules.

"It makes us proud to know we have made a difference in the lives of those patients who need us," says Mike Banigan, founder and president of Chronic Disease Fund. "Partnering with a resource like OncologyRx Care Advantage not only allows us to help patients get the medications they so desperately need, but also the focused patient care they deserve."

Duane Reeder, a 75 year old cancer patient from Tucson, Ariz., was 60 years old when he was first diagnosed with kidney cancer in March of 1994. In 2003, doctors at Arizona Oncology, a community-based oncology practice affiliated with US Oncology, found that his renal cell carcinoma had metastasized to his lungs; by 2006, he was in the advanced stages of his disease.

Reeder's physicians began treating him with Nexavar, an oral multiple kinase inhibitor that has been shown to significantly slow the spread of advanced kidney cancer in a majority of patients. By filling his prescription through OncologyRx Care Advantage, Reeder was eligible to receive support from CARxES(SM), the Chemotherapy Adherence & Prescription Education Support program that monitors patients taking oral oncolytics and helps them access financial assistance to cover costly co-pays. Reeder's comment to his Care Advantage patient access coordinator, Meg Asher, "Help me get to see my great grandbaby."

Three years and three great grandbabies later, Reeder is living with his late-stage cancer. The CARxES program helped him obtain $24,450 in financial assistance through various foundations set up to help patients remain on their therapies. These are funds that would have come from his personal finances had the program not existed. To learn more about Care Advantage, contact 1-866-216-5053.

About OncologyRx Care Advantage

Launched in August, 2006 and designed specifically for the complexity of cancer care, OncologyRx Care Advantage specialty pharmacy provides patients with convenient home delivery of oral cancer therapies and the additional support necessary for safe and supervised use of these oral therapy treatments. The pharmacy utilizes oncology certified nurses to proactively monitor patient compliance with the prescribed therapy and support adherence by helping patients manage their side effects. In addition to the ongoing support of a team of patient care experts, Care Advantage patients have 24-hour access to oncology certified pharmacists. OncologyRx Care Advantage brings access to home delivery of oral drugs and critical patient support to cancer patients in all 50 U.S. states and the territory of Puerto Rico. For more information, visit www.usoncology.com.

About US Oncology

US Oncology, Inc., headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, works closely with physicians, payers, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical equipment manufacturers, to identify and deliver innovative services that enhance patient access to advanced cancer care. US Oncology supports one of the nation's foremost cancer treatment and research networks, accelerating the availability and use of evidence-based medicine and shared best practices.

US Oncology uses its expertise to support every aspect of the cancer care delivery system - from drug development to distribution and outcomes measurement - enabling the company to help increase the efficiency and safety of cancer care. A s of the company's last quarterly earnings report, US Oncology is affiliated with 1,227 physicians operating in 468 locations, including 95 radiation oncology facilities in 39 states. For more information, visit the company's Web site, www.usoncology.com.


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SOURCE US Oncology, Inc.
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