Tarceva cost

Okay, my oncologist wants me on Tarceva in addition to my being on Avastin for the past 8 months. Yesterday he said my multi-tiny tumors in both lungs had increased 10% in size and I have two new ones. He warned me that my Medicare Part D drug plan had to approve my taking Tarceva and that they might ask me to pay as much as $3,500. for the first month's supply of pills, shipped Fed EX from the drug company. Tarceva is being used for lung cancer "off label". He said that I needed to challenge the cost and see what I could get them to accept. We are not poor but we do not have $3,500 floating around each month for meds. Have any of you had experience with "the phone call" from the Part D people over you doc Rx this med for you? Did you resist their first price request...what was the result? Thanks for any help you could be on this. cynthia from Mo.

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Hi Cynthia,
Look to the right of the screen and you will see second from the top, Health Well Foundation. Please apply to them for help with the first co pay. They will usually help with part of the cost depending on your income. There might even be a phone number you can call. I think there is a number for them on the Tarceva website.

I always have to pay the copay for the first month until my catastrophic coverage kicks in. I have Keystone 65 BCBS, so I don't quite know how yours works. If you call Heath Well Foundation they can tell you and they are VERY good and fast too.
Good Luck and God Bless,
Marylou

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Mary Lou, thanks for the quick reply and referral. I am waiting for "the call" and I want to know what to expect and how to answer them. My husband is hurridly trying to figure out our current income in case there are guidelines of income needed. Will contact your referral ...thanks again..cynthia

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I am receiving my SS disability benefits and Medicare. I use BC/BS Louisiana as my supplemental insurance. BC/BS is also my Part D (prescription coverage).

Tarceva is a very expensive drug. It's cost is around $3,500 per month. Medicare requires you to meet you Part D annual out of pocket expense (called the gap) before they pay any significant amount on your drugs.

With Tarceva, (because it so expensive) you hit this gap immediately. You will pay approximately $5,000 plus out of pocket annually for Tarceva if you are covered with a Part D policy.

It is always a stressful and frustrating time for me. I always have to secure a loan for the $5,000 in order to go ahead and get the Tarceva. Then I can apply for co-pay assistance through the list on the right hand side of the page. So far, I have been blessed I have been reimbursed my out of pocket.

I am currently working on my applications for help this year. I have currently spent approximately $3,700 so far. My husband did secure another loan in Jan for this purpose.

It is an ongoing issue for me. I do worry about it alot.

Sharron

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Not sure about part D but would go on the Tarceva site to see what they can do for you, they have an assistance plan there where they may be able to reduce your drug cost for you.

good luck,

Scott

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Hi Cynthia,

Genentech - the manufacturer of Tarceva - may be able to help through their patient assistance programs. Call (866) 422-2377 for more information. They have reimbursement programs but can also refer you to other organizations for co-pay assistance as well!

Hope that helps.

Amy
LCA

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Good stuff from you guys. Helps prepare me for what we need to spend ahead yearly. cynthia

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When I was on Tarceva I went through Patient Access Network (it's on the side) and they helped me with the co-pay.

Cindy

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I just now got off of the phone with the mail-out pharmacy that carries Tarceva. The agent was very nice, took my income data and how many Rx drugs my husband and I are on and said he will contact some of the co-pay funding groups that help and see what he can get the final out of pocket price for Tarceva down to. He will let me know on Monday so they can ship it. Nice experience really. Hope Monday produces some reduction... has any one had this service provided for them by the pharmacy, and was the reduction significant/fair? cynthia

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Here in Central Coast CA, my husband had to pay $4360 for the first month of Tarceva! The next month was covered, because he had met the maximum out of pocket expense for drugs, but If he had stayed on it, come last January he would have had to pay the full $4360 again, which was just 3 months after the first payment. But Tarceva gave him a severe case of bladder stones and didn't touch his cancer, so he went back on IV chemo for 12 weeks.
Bonnie

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Bonnie, thanks for the input. Sorry about your husband's experience. I'm curious what cancer drug was given to him after Tarceva (which did not work). I wish I had asked my doc why he was going to keep me on Avastin and add Tarceva, when Avastin did not hold back the growth of the tumors and two new lung tumors developed these past 6 months. Anyone know about mixing the two target drugs? cynthia

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Hi Cynthia,

Here's an article that came out in February 09 related to results from the ATLAS Study, a phase 3 trial that was looking at the Avastin/Tarceva combination. Here's the summary and then the link to the full article:

"The results showed that Tarceva (erlotinib) plus Avastin (bevacizumab) given as first line maintenance treatment following initial therapy with Avastin plus chemotherapy extends the time patients live without their disease getting worse (progression free survival) compared to maintenance therapy with Avastin plus placebo."


http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=86204

I saw another article published after the phase 1/2 trial in 2004 that explained why they thought the combination might work. It says:

"Tarceva™ is an epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, and Avastin targets the vascular endothelial growth factor pathway. Researchers have speculated that the combination of agents targeting these two pathways may provide improved results in NSCLC."

Here's the link to that article: http://professional.cancerconsultants.com/oncology_main_news.aspx?id=34002

Hope that helps.

Amy
LCA

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Amy thanks! I printed the two articles for my husband's reading. Hopeful they are. cynthia

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My friend with stage iv nsclc has been thru 6 rounds of taxol and she is going to start taking the tarceva. Her oncologist says she is in remission; she originally had multi tumors and some in her pleura but no sign of cancer now at all; however, he is putting her tarceva. How long can we expect her to live using this tarceva and if you know, if she does NOT take anything else, what are her chances for the cancer to return.

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Cynthia:
my situation sounds somewhat like yours...I get help from a copay fund here in Wisconsin..Avastin and Tarceva can be a potent combination together...they are working for me, having turned my two small lung tumors inactive, and they are shrinking also. Left with two small spots in my bones. Go for it and I hope you get the same result as I am getting....guy

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You will note that my original posting was over a year ago. If your friend has the cell receptor for Tarceva, it should hold the growth of tumors back for awile. We are a fairly new group of Tarceva users and tho' it seems to have lots of side effects, it has proven to be very effective in stopping tumor growth. It has not eliminated any of my twenty tumors in both lungs but....they have been at a standstill for a year...even with lowering the dosage from 150 to 75 mg. daily. I am a fan of this drug and my daily life has good quality. It is my understanding the eventually my body will resist the work of this target drug (adapt to it) but several new drugs are coming out so....saying how long I can live is pointless these days. I was supposed to be dead last year. Only God knows my expiration date! hugs for caring about your friend. I have no other site for my cancer's appearance at this time.
cynthia from MO.

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