What Are the Barriers to Accessing Novel Agents in Myeloma?

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Topics include: Treatments and Understanding

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What disparities exist today that prevent multiple myeloma patients from using innovative treatments? What assistance programs are available to help increase access to medications? Patient Power host and advocate Jack Aiello is joined by a panel of myeloma experts including Dr. Joshua Richter, from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Kristen Carter, an APRN from The UAMS Myeloma Institute, to pinpoint the challenges and barriers myeloma patients may face in accessing cancer care, where to find support and how to evaluate treatments for safety and quality before taking them. 

This is a Patient Empowerment Network program produced by Patient Power. We thank AbbVie, Inc., Celgene Corporation, and Takeda Oncology for their support.

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Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Jack Aiello:

Kristen, I know you have lots of patients that come from really all over the world to the University of Arkansas there.  There is a patient named Renee who is South African who says, I don't have access to many of the newer myeloma medicines, and I wonder if there are assistance programs out there to remedy this.  Are you familiar with being able to help someone like that?  

Kristen Carter:

We have actually had several patients that this is a big issue with.  I have a guy that is from Trinidad and he can't get a lot of the medications there.  And I have someone from the Bahamas saying they have a lifetime cap on their insurance, and then that becomes a big problem especially assess to medications in other countries.  We actually have had people fly in to get medications and fly out, and we were actually able to get it through patient assistance here in the United States, but not everybody has the means to do that.  

Jack Aiello:

Yeah.  

Kristen Carter:

And so—I mean, it is a big issue.  I mean, even to try to get Revlimid in some areas or Velcade in some areas, it's just not on their protocol in that country.  And even here in the U.S. dealing with the VA and certain places like that where different combinations have to be approved before they can get that.  So that's always a challenge, is access to medication and different regimens that may not be approved overseas, Canada, the Bahamas.  European countries still are not utilizing the medications.  So we're very fortunate to live in the United States and have the access to the different combinations that we have here.  

Jack Aiello:

Do any of you hear patients who have those problems trying to access generics, and do you have any feeling for whether that's a good idea or not?   

Dr. Richter:

I think it's a difficult thing to ask because unfortunately there are well known disparities in terms of access to care within this country and in other countries, and a lot of the patient advocacy groups are trying to do what they can to help a lot of these patients.  In terms of what patients ought to do if they can get access, I think it depends on the source.  There's obviously some legitimate channels that people can utilize to try to get access to drugs that may not be readily available.  

Obviously, in the day and age we're in I think there are some probably shadier ways people can get drugs, and it will be unclear how real they are.  So I think that if you have access to any of these things it is probably best to bring them to a pharmacist to evaluate to ensure that if you are able to get these drugs from some other means other than the purely legitimate routes that you are taking the correct things and nothing that's dangerous.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on November 16, 2018