Thursday, March 31, 2011

Medicare Moves to Pay for Prostate Cancer Drug Provenge - The Washington Post

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Me...Image via Wikipedia
By Rob Stein

The federal health insurance program for the elderly moved Wednesday to pay for an expensive vaccine recently approved to treat men with advanced prostate cancer.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed paying for the vaccine, known as Provenge, which costs $93,000 a patient. The proposal will be subject to public comment for 30 days, and a final decision will be issued 60 days after that.

“The evidence is adequate to conclude that” Provenge “ improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries” with metastatic prostate cancer, “and thus is reasonable and necessary for that indication,” CMS said in announcing its decision.

Although Medicare is not supposed to take cost into consideration when making such rulings, the decision by CMS to launch a formal examination raised concerns among cancer experts, drug companies, lawmakers, prostate cancer patients and advocacy groups.
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