Effect of a patient support program on access to oral therapy for hematologic malignancies

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Abstract

Purpose

The results of a study assessing the effectiveness of a manufacturer-sponsored assistance program for patients prescribed oral cancer therapies are presented.

Methods

Rates of dispensing success were evaluated in a random sample of patients (n = 1000) who enrolled in the Celgene Patient Support (CPS) program for assistance obtaining lenalidomide or thalidomide over a two-year period and a control group of patients (n = 1000) who registered to receive the drugs under restricted-distribution protocols but did not receive CPS assistance. The main study outcomes were (1) the proportion of patients who actually received medication and (2) the time from prescription approval to the initial dispensing of medication.

Results

Despite the complex access issues faced by program enrollees, the proportion of CPS participants who received medication (89%) was comparable to the proportion of patients who received medication in the control cohort (91%). The median time from the approval of prescriptions to the initial dispensing of medication was also comparable in the CPS and control groups (eight days versus five days). The study also evaluated the reasons why medication was not dispensed to CPS enrollees in some cases.

Conclusion

The percentage of patients who were dispensed prescriptions for lenalidomide or thalidomide did not differ significantly between those who were enrolled in a patient assistance program and those who were not. The median time between prescription authorization and first dispensing was comparable among program and nonprogram patients.

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