Medicare Not Useful to Buy Some Cancer Medications

Chemotherapy is now available in pill form, but even with Medicare you may not be able to afford the pills. For example, certain chemotherapy pills cost about $2,400 for a month’s supply, more than some patients’ entire monthly salary.

Patients who cannot afford the expensive cancer pills take recourse to older drugs which may not be as effective, or they simply give up. Why are the cancer pills so expensive? Insurance companies point the blame at drug makers, who shift the blame back on to the insurers.

Some health experts blame Medicare’s design which makes expensive drugs out of reach for the common man. Such expensive drugs include those for hepatitis C, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, besides anti-cancer tablets.

Medicare beneficiaries have to pay higher out-of-pocket costs compared to patients having private insurance. Some Medicare beneficiaries, unable to afford the high costs, opt to forego filling their prescriptions. However, Medicare does help poor patients who need to pay only a token amount for certain types of treatment.

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