Medicare to Pay for Prostate Cancer Drug

Provenge Approved to Treat Metastatic Prostate Cancer

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Medicare has announced it will pay for Provenge (sipuleucel-T) to treat metastatic prostate cancer. This drug extends the life of patients by about four months.

Provenge treats prostate cancer by activating the body's own immune system to attack cancer cells.

"Medicare now covers Provenge to treat metastatic prostate cancer."

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) issued a statement regarding the decision. CMS Administrator, Dr. Donald M. Berwick, says the agency is focused on providing the quality of care and treatments patients living with cancer wish to seek.

Treatment using Provenge costs $93,000 per person.

Manufactured by Dendreon Corporation, Provenge received FDA approval in April 2010 to treat asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic castrate resistant (hormone refractory) prostate cancer.

Dendreon provides assistance to patients who are uninsured or need financial assistance in paying for the medication.

In a similar move, Medicare announced this week it would also pay for Avastin to treat late-stage breast cancer, regardless of whether or not the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the drug for that use.

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Review Date: 
July 1, 2011
Last Updated:
October 22, 2012