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WellPoint's Health Plans to Cover Newly Approved Cancer Treatment

Cephalon's Treanda will be a covered benefit immediately upon its

availability to members with chronic lymphocytic leukemia

INDIANAPOLIS, March 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP) announced today that effective immediately upon the drug's availability, its affiliate health plans which provide benefits for specialty drugs will provide coverage for Treanda. Specific benefit plans may have variable benefits levels for specialty medications.

WellPoint's affiliated health plans' decision to cover Treanda followed the Federal Drug Administration's decision to grant it orphan drug status for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. According to the National Cancer Institute, chronic lymphocytic leukemia is the second most common type of leukemia in adults, occurring most often during or after middle age.

"This medication can have a significant impact on our members with chronic lymphocytic leukemia," said Sam Nussbaum, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer for WellPoint, Inc. "Many of these members have received other treatment options without sustained success, the FDA's approval of this new treatment gives these members another chance to control their blood cancer."

WellPoint has a clinical guideline in place for "orphan" drug use. "Orphan" drugs refer to those medications that impact a relatively small percentage of the population, but may have a great impact on their overall health. WellPoint considers these drugs medically necessary when the drugs receive FDA marketing approval and the approval is made publicly available.

About WellPoint, Inc.

WellPoint, Inc. is the largest health benefits company in terms of medical membership in the United States. WellPoint is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and serves its members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as Empire Blue Cross or Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the city of Fairfax, the town of Vienna and the area east of State Route 123.), Wisconsin; and through UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at

SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.
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