Greetings,The last (we hope!) big push is on - please help NOW! Tomorrow the Senate willre-vote on the Medicare bill with the RIT extension. We need to convince one -just one - more Republican senator. Please take a minute to read this entiremessage.and help!Today, Senator Durbin of Illinois made an impassioned plea to his fellowsenators to pass the Medicare bill. He reminded senators that the houseRepublicans passed the bill 6 to 1 and said that he hoped one more Republican inthe Senate would vote for protecting Medicare patients. As an aside, he alsosaid he didn't know Senator McCain's position on the bill, but challenged McCainto return for the vote (McCain was not present for the last vote) and protectthe 40 million seniors that are affected by this bill.Last week, the AMA took out TV ads targeting 10 GOP senators who are up forre-election and who voted against the Medicare bill. The AARP has lobbiedheavily as well, and today they have specifically called on their members tocall Senator Cornyn of Texas because they've heard he may be considering theoptions.The toll-free AARP hotline is 1-800-480-4354, but you must enter your phonenumber and zip code to be connected to the senator from your state. I just triedit and used a Texas zip code of 75225. Another one is 77098.Also if you live in any of the following states whose senators voted against thebill, you can use the same toll-free number and type in your real zip code.Nay votes by state:Alabama: Sessions and ShelbyArizona: Kyl(McCain didn't vote - should call him and encourage him to show up and voteyes!)Colorado: AllardFlorida: MartinezGeorgia: Chambliss and IsaksonIdaho: Craig and CrapoIndiana: LugarIowa: GrassleyKansas: BrownbackKentucky: Bunning and McConnellLouisiana: VitterMississippi: Cochran and WickerMissouri: BondNebraska: HagelNevada: Ensign and ReidNew Hampshire: Gregg and SununuNew Mexico: DomeniciNorth Carolina: BurrOklahoma: Coburn and InhofePennsylvania: SpecterSouth Carolina: Graham and DeMintSouth Dakota: ThuneTennessee: Alexander and CorkerTexas: Cornyn and HutchisonUtah: Bennett and HatchVirginia: WarnerWyoming: Barrasso and EnziI presume the offices have answering machines after hours, but I don't know thatfor sure - so whenever you get this, please make the call.
sounds like a good bill to vote AGAINST, not for, but what do I know... BP
My wife and I are in the fight of my life against lymphoma, a kind of cancer that is currently incurable. We have been working hard with Lymphoma/Leukemia organizations to keep medicare reimbursement for RIT's, new and promising cancer treatments (RIT = radio immune therapy, a radio labeled monoclonal antibody) at realistic levels. There is language in medicare funding that if a therapy is not provided to medicare patients in a hospital that receives medicare funding, then it cannot be offered to anybody, or the hospital will lose all funding.This means we would not even be able to buy the RIT that may save my wife's life for another 10 years. Short of changing the medicare laws to allow hospitals to offer treatments whether or not medicare patients have access to them (controversial, eh?) I want the stuff to stay available. If we can afford to fund subsidize ethanol, we can afford to reimburse hospitals the cost of radio-immune therapies.sano
Do these RITs really work? Usually, approval requires evidence of effectiveness (and safety). Medicare should not finance drugs which have not shown effectiveness and safety, although I agree with you they should be available to patients who can afford them and have been told about their limits.The fact that there is a bizarre law which prevents hospitals from selling treatments that are not on the Medicare list is not an adequate reason, IMO, to approve all new treatments. Why not lobby to change the bizarre law, instead?Regards, BP, and good luck to you
Do these RITs really work? ... Usually, approval requires evidence of effectiveness (and safety). Medicare should not finance drugs which have not shown effectiveness and safety,Zevalin and Bexxar? They are completely approved and they work really well. Oncs have been slow to prescribe RITs because they can't administer the stuff in office; the patient has to be referred to a facility with a nuclear med dept.It's just starting to catch on as a really good frontline treatment....but if Medicare won't reimburse the real cost, nobody gets it. That would be a real shame. I know a lot of folks with lymphoma in their prime who dread each treatment they must endure, but thankful that something as effective and easily tolerated as RIT is out there. Cancer sucks, but it would suck even more if the 'good stuff' goes off market before we even learn about its most efficacious applications. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibritumomab_tiuxetan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BexxarI know a bunch of folks who have done both, and compared to CHOP, RIT is a cakewalk.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/07/business/07drug.html?_r=1&...An article on RIT and troubles with reimbursement.http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/14/health/14lymphoma.html?scp...An article on RITs and why even though they seem to be more effective than standard therapies, doctors don't seem to be using due to reimbursement issues. Regular chemo plus "vitamin R" seem to be much more lucrative and therefore more prescribed.
Regular chemo plus "vitamin R" seem to be much more lucrative and therefore more prescribed. Every lymphoma chat group has discussed this repeatedly and buried into the subliminal recesses of our minds. We hate to think about it because (I think) it implies a greediness among Oncs that we prefer to pretend does not exist.I cling to the (naive?) belief that if an Onc could not provide a good treatment in his own infusion center, he would put our best interests first, and would not hesitate to send us to a capable facility. Doesn't matter if it was a SCT ro RIT... he'd send us. NEWS FLASH - The medicare bill passed, and with it, the extension for RIT payments. I've no doubt there are line items I would have objected to within it volumes. It is unfortunate that so many things are bundled in a huge bill, but that's the way it is. sano
NEWS FLASH - The medicare bill passed, and with it, the extension for RIT payments. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NWE-YEdZXYLike him or not, if you are not moved by this moment there is something wrong with you.Ailing Kennedy helps win passage of Medicare billhttp://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2008/0...TMF ∞
From an investment standpoint, RIT's are not moneymakers because they are not widely prescribed. Rituxan remains the monster drug of choice. It's labeling continues to grow. Zevalin got sold to CTIC by the company that developed and owns Rituxan.As it's use grows, the impact of Zevalin on its bottom line should grow. Anybody think CTIC could/should pop on this?CTI purchased the U.S. sales, marketing, and development rights to Zevalin in late 2007 from Biogen Idec, Inc. Recently CTI reached an agreement with Bayer Schering Pharma, which has rights to Zevalin outside the United States, for access to pivotal trial data from the First-line Indolent Trial (FIT), which can potentially be used to expand the label in the U.S. Another potential drug growth story concerns the use of GM-CSF aka sargramostim, brand name Leukine, as an adjuvant to Rituxan. It's getting a lot of buzz in lymphoma circles becasue recent phase 1 trials indicating longer remisssions in a higher percentage of Rituxan users.Leukine is simple to administer (a quick sub-cutaneous injection like a flu shot), well tolerated, and relatively cheap. Bayer owns Leukine, so it's impact wouldn't be as profound as could be Zevalin for CTIC.
Some commentary in the recent New England Journal of Medicine on the recent vote in congress. http://content.nejm.org/cgi/reprint/NEJMp0805760v2.pdf(free, may need registration)It doesn't talk about RIT, but the reimbursement policy and costs of the Medicare Advantage program that drove the veto and the consequent overturn.I like this policy stuff. I just can't bring myself to consider public health care insurance companies for investment, despite how cheap the stocks have become.TMFHelicalCommunity Analyst Team
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