Treatment with BTKis in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia - Episode 8

Cost Considerations for CLL Therapies

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Experts on chronic lymphocytic leukemia discuss how to approach cost considerations and available resources for CLL treatments.


Lori A. Leslie, MD: Speaking of stress in our patients, there are a lot of things—I don’t know if this comes up in the support group—that come into being on treatments. Some of that is financial. Is that something people talk about: the cost of health care and their medications?

Hoshiyuki Iida, APN: It’s a concern for our patients in the support group. When you’re starting out, the therapy cost is always an issue. Newer treatments are expensive, and then you’re talking about being on it for several years as a possibility. We tell our patients who are starting therapy that there’s always patient support, co-pay assistance. So speak to your provider, and make sure you’re getting any support benefits that comes with the medication.

Lori A. Leslie, MD: It can be complicated. Thankfully, we have a whole team that does only oral medications because it’s so common throughout oncology. We have a lot of patients come in. If you talk about a medicine, they’ll call us the next day and say, “I looked this up on the internet. It’s several thousand dollars a month. I can’t afford that.” We tell them it first it goes to your insurance. Then there’s co-pay assistance, thankfully, with several options. The benefit of having those options is that there’s some competition, so the patient-support options from the companies that make the medications are quite robust. It’s a rare situation to have a patient who needs a certain therapy and can’t get it due to cost. As you highlighted very nicely, particularly when starting a new treatment, that’s a common, stressful concern for patients. It’s not necessarily an adverse effect, but that worry as they’re starting a new therapy impacts their quality of life. It’s nice to direct them to all the resources we have.

Transcript edited for clarity.