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New Study Finds That 10% of Cancer Patients Abandoned Oral Anti-Cancer Drugs
Date:5/18/2011

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Ten percent of cancer patients failed to fill their initial prescriptions for oral anti-cancer drugs, according to a new study published jointly today in the Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP) and American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC). The study was based on an analysis conducted by Avalere Health LLC using pharmacy transaction data over a two-year period from 2007 to 2009. This study has also been accepted for presentation at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting on June 6th (abstract number 82120).

The study, "Patient and Plan Characteristics Affecting Abandonment of Oral Oncolytic Prescriptions," finds that patients were primarily abandoning their anti-cancer drugs due to two key factors: high cost-sharing and higher prescription activity. For example, claims with cost-sharing over $500 were four times more likely to be abandoned than claims with cost-sharing of $100 or less. Across the sample of prescription claims studied, Medicare coverage and lower income were also related to higher rates of abandonment when each were compared individually.

The study shows that while anti-cancer medicines offer benefits to patients, access to them is difficult due to high rates of cost-sharing. While 73 percent of newly initiated oncolytic patients had a cost-sharing amount of $100 of less, 16 percent required an out-of-pocket cost of greater than $500. The study found that the abandonment rate increased with cost-sharing amounts. Claims with cost-sharing above $500 had the highest abandonment rate – 25 percent – as compared with an abandonment rate of six percent for claims with cost-sharing of $100 or less.

"Our study shows that many cancer patients are abandoning the medicine they need," said Lauren Barnes, vice president, Avalere Health. "With 45.5 percent of Medicare patients in our sample facing cost-sharing greater than $500 for their first a
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SOURCE Avalere Health
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