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Thread: My best friend's husband was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Aug 2012

    My best friend's husband was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

    Quote Originally Posted by kaylm View Post
    my husband has just been diagnosed with this illness, CML, i am looking for any and all info on treatment

    My best friends husband was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. He is presently taking Gleevec and is in remission but his insurance coverage (cobra) will be running out soon and they will not be able to afford the medicine. We were talking last night and she wanted to know about the issue of bone marrow transplants in regard to CML. I told her I would research this for her and remembered this "no blood" site. Can anyone give me any info in regards to this topic?

    Thank You

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  3. #2
    Administrator jlvarisco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    The company that supplies Gleevec is Novartis Oncology. They have a patient assistance program. You can give this information to the family and make sure they contact either the program at 800.282.7630 or through the website provided. The website is: Novartis – Patient Assistance Now - Home. We hope this information is helpful for this patient. Please let us know if you need further assistance.
    Last edited by jlvarisco; 08-06-2012 at 11:27 AM.

  4. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    A bone marrow transplant is not to be taken lightly and it should not be considered as a cost saving method. A BMT is a lengthy process with excessive medical costs that will far exceed the cost of the drug. There will be a need to take drugs post transplant that will also be expensive, in fact some BMT protocols for CML are now calling for use of TKI drug like Gleevec post transplant to improve odds of preventing relapse. Also have to consider the fact that BMT survival rates are considerably lower than taking Gleevec. A BMT should only be considered if TKI drugs are not working.

    Some options to help with cost are

    1) contact Novartis for patient assistance program
    2) contact Leukemia Lymphoma Society
    3) contact National CML Society
    4) Check out This is the pre-existing condition health insurance plan. If he does not have insurance and can't get insurance because of his condition, he may be able to get insurance through this plan.
    5) Determine if the state he lives in has a "chemo parity" law. Most chemo treatment is covered under major medical, which is somewhat easier to get than prescription coverage. Gleevec is considered Oral chemotherapy and gets covered under Rx plan. This is not fair to patients and many states now have laws that major medical has to cover oral chemo.
    6) If he cannot work, consider filing a disability claim with SSI
    7) Keep in mind that Gleevec is supposed to go off patent in 2015, which means a generic will become available that will cost much less.
    8) As an absolute last resort, if there is no other option, if it were me, I would look into getting Gleevec out of India. India has a generic for Gleevec that is much cheeper. People report mixed results with it, some it works for fine, others it didn't work as well. Novartis is fighting with India over patent infringement, but for now, there is a generic available from India. I can't tell you how to get it and I don't know if it would technically be legal, but it is out there if he finds he has no other options.

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