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Deadline for Medicare drug demo project is Sept. 30


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I wasn't quite sure where to post this, but I received it in e-mail today:

Deadline for Medicare drug demo project is Sept. 30

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sept. 17, 2004 – Cancer patients will need to hurry to meet a Sept. 30 deadline to sign up for a Medicare demonstration project that will pay a portion of the cost of certain oral cancer drugs.

The project will involve up to 25,000 cancer patients who will receive the oral anti-cancer drugs between now and when the new Medicare prescription drug coverage begins in January 2006.

Under the demonstration, as established under the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), Medicare will pay for certain drugs and biologicals that can be taken by the patient at home. Because these drugs will be included in the new Medicare drug benefit in 2006, the demonstration study provides an opportunity for Medicare to learn about the impact of the new drug coverage on the use of oral drugs that can "replace" currently covered Part B drugs.

The cancer drug project will enroll randomly selected Medicare beneficiaries with no other drug coverage who meet the eligibility requirements. The patient's doctor needs to certify the patient needs one of the oral drugs from a specified list to treat certain cancer types and stages.

A percentage (estimated at 10%) of people were selected from those who applied between July 6 and Aug. 16. Those patients began coverage Sept. 1. All people not selected in the first application round will be automatically carried over into the second round of applications.

The remaining participants will be selected from the second application round, which began July 6 and will close Sept. 30 . Those selected from that round will begin coverage on Oct. 18.

The specific cancer drugs covered under the cancer drug project include:

Tamoxifen (Nolvadex™) – for stages 2-4 breast cancer

Imatinib mesylate (Gleevec™) – for chronic myelogenous leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumor

Gefitinib (Iressa™) – for non-small cell lung cancer

Anastrozole (Arimidex™) – for stages 2-4 breast cancer

Letrozole (Femara™) – for stages 2-4 breast cancer

Bexarotene (Targretin™) – for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma

Thalidomide (Thalomid™) – for multiple myeloma

Altretamine (Hexalen™) – for epithelial ovarian cancer

Exemestane (Aromasin™) – for stages 2-4 breast cancer

Toremifene (Fareston™) – for stages 2-4 breast cancer

Mesna (Mesnex™) – for people receiving ifosfamide

Eligible patients must be covered by Medicare Part A and B, or will have Medicare Part A and B in October 2004 and must list Medicare as their primary payer. Patients also must live in the 50 states or District of Columbia and must not have other comprehensive drug coverage.

To apply fill out an application form; and submit it with a form filled out by your doctor certifying your need for one or more of the drugs on the covered list for specific cancer indications.

Both forms are available online at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Web site, or by calling 1-866-563-5386, Mon.-Fri., 8AM-7:30PM (EST)

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I am going to kick this one up since the deadline is soon apporoaching.

I also think maybe a person should apply IF they just think that Iressa might be something needed in his or her future-- I don't know if that is possible or not, though, but it might be worth checking with the SSA.

Thanks for the reminder to those who may need this!

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