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

nti-cancer drug, this is a Medicare quality issue of the first order."

The study was authored by experts from Avalere Health, including Michael Johnsrud, PhD, who leads the Health Economics and Outcomes Research group at Avalere Health, and oncologist Lee Schwartzberg, MD, medical director of The West Clinic in Memphis, Tenn.

Until recently, drug therapy for patients with cancer consisted of intravenous (IV) infused treatment. Anti-cancer medications that can be administered orally are a relatively new addition to cancer patients and provide benefits to patients. Such oral anti-cancer medications are reported to account for approximately 25 to 35 percent of the current oncology pipeline.

"Cost-sharing clearly has an impact on whether a patient initiates his or her oral anti-cancer medicine, with the abandonment rate rising as the cost-sharing increases," said Johnsrud, a senior vice president at Avalere Health. "Importantly, claims for cost-sharing over $500 have more than four times higher an abandonment rate than claims of cost-sharing with less than $100. This demonstrates that patients are confronted with potential barriers in accessing anti-cancer medications."

The number of concurrent prescriptions also had an impact on abandonment of an oncolytic. Patients with more than five claims for non-cancer medicines in the previous month had an abandonment rate of 12 percent, as compared to nine percent for patients with no claims in the previous month.

Finally, lower income and patients covered by Medicare also had higher rates of abandoning their anti-cancer medications. Patients with incomes of less than $40,000 per year had an abandonment rate of 11 percent, decreasing to 10 percent for incomes between $40,000 and $75,000 and nine percent for incomes above $75,000. Abandonment rates for Medicare claims were 16 percent, versus 9 percent for those with commercial insurance.

"The bottom line is that patients should have ac
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SOURCE Avalere Health
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