Expensive brain cancer drug no longer an option under Medicare

Brain tumor experts and patient advocates are among those denouncing the cancer drug seller’s decision to withdraw from a federal reduction program for Medicare patients, leaving some unable to afford treatment that could reach $ 1,000 per capsule.

The decision by Miami-based NextSource Biotechnology means the drug Gleostine is no longer eligible for Medicare Part D drug assistance, meaning there is one less option among a handful of approved chemotherapies.

“There are a lot of people right now who are not getting the drug,” and some will likely die from it, Henry S. Friedman, neuro-oncologist and professor of neurosurgery at Duke University School of Medicine, told CBS MoneyWatch. “There are patients who cannot afford the drug, and other drugs may not be as effective.”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, have confirmed that NextSource has withdrawn from the Medicaid drug reimbursement program, which means states cannot receive reimbursement from federal funding for Gleostine. However, states can still pay for the drug with their own funds, with each state’s Medicaid program making these coverage decisions.

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