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Medicare Confirms it will Pay for Expensive Prostate Cancer Drug

Medicare officials have agreed to cover the whopping $93,000 price of Provenge, a prostate cancer drug that is known to extend the lives of advanced prostate cancer patients by an additional four months. Medicare will cover the expenses for men in whom prostate cancer is at an advanced stage and does not respond to radiation or hormone therapy.

But, Medicare will not pay for “off-label” or alternate use of Provenge. Around 240,000 new prostate cancer cases are detected annually in the US, and this disease claims more than 33,000 lives each year, reveals the American Cancer Society.

Medicare is a health care plan that aids seniors. This Provenge decision will ensure tens of thousands of prostate cancer patients will get treatment. Medicare reimbursement will help Provenge rack up sales of $1 billion next year.

Dendreon, the company which makes Provenge, says the high price is because it spent greater than $1 billion for the drug’s research and development. Prostate cancer patients say the four months time gained by Provenge is double the time gained by chemotherapy, which also has painful side effects. Dendreon said it will open two more facilities in addition to its main facility located at New Jersey.

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