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1 in 10 advanced colon cancer patients worry about prescription drug costs
Date:5/29/2009

ORLANDO, Fla.--The vast majority of advanced colon cancer patients in a clinical trial were not concerned about the cost of prescription drugs for managing chemotherapy side effects, such as infection, pain and nausea and few adopted strategies to reduce drug cost burdens after joining the clinical trial, according to a study led by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Although few patients reported substantial worry about drug costs, still fewer reported discussing drug cost issues with their physicians, suggesting there are opportunities for improving how physicians integrate discussions about drug costs into clinical practice.

The study's findings (abstract 9503) will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. on Friday, May 29, 5:30 pm ET, Level 4, W414A.

"We were reassured to learn that few patients enrolled in the clinical trial engaged in coping strategies to minimize the impact of prescription drug costs, but we also recognize that these findings may not generalize to patients treated outside the clinical trial context," said the study's lead author, Deborah Schrag, MD, MPH, of Dana-Farber.

Schrag added that given the current state of the economy, with a growing number of people losing their jobs and possibly some or all of their insurance coverage, "we could witness growing anxiety among cancer patients about their ability to pay for medications that may help them adhere to their therapy."

The researchers surveyed 409 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who were enrolled in a Cancer Leukemia Group B (CALGB) Phase III clinical trial that compared outcomes of patients who received combination chemotherapy in conjunction with bevacizumab and cetuximab together or with cetuximab alone. The participants also received prescriptions for "supportive" drugs, such as anti-nausea medications, antibiotics and painkillers.

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Contact: Anne Doerr
anne_doerr@dfci.harvard.edu
440-670-6563
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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