Friday, July 27, 2012

Good News on the Myeloma Front

FDA Approves Kyprolis (Carfilzomib) For Relapsed And Refractory Multiple Myeloma 
(From the Myeloma Beacon and the MMRF)
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved carfilzomib, which will be marketed under the brand name Kyprolis, for the treatment of people with multiple myeloma who have received at least two prior therapies. Specifically, Kyprolis has been approved for myeloma patients who have already been treated with at least Velcade (bortezomib) and either Revlimid (lena­lido­mide) or thalido­mide (Thalomid) and who have also progressed on or within 60 days of completing their last therapy.

“I am very pleased,” said Dr. Vincent Rajkumar from the Mayo Clinic. “Carfilzomib is an excellent new drug, and this is great news for myeloma patients.” Onyx Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ONXX), which is the company that will market Kyprolis, announced during a conference call with analysts this afternoon that the drug will be available on the U.S. market August 1.

Also during its conference call today, Onyx announced the price of Kyprolis. The drug will cost $10,000 per 28-day cycle at the recommended dose for a patient of average size.At that price and based on FDA-approved dosing schedules, Kyprolis will be the most expensive drug approved in the U.S. for multiple myeloma. In comparison, Velcade costs between $4,000 to $8,000 per 28-day period, depending on the frequency of dosing, and Revlimid costs $7,900 per 28-day period at the FDA-approved 21-out-of-28-day dosing.

“The approval of Kyprolis is an immensely important milestone for the multiple myeloma patient community, which continues to face significant unmet need in terms of safe and effective treatments for advanced disease. While we have seen tremendous progress in the past decade, multiple myeloma remains incurable,” stated Kathy Giusti, Founder and CEO of the MMRF and MMRC and a multiple myeloma patient. “We commend the FDA and Onyx for their dedication to enabling patient access to Kyprolis..."

EZ and I have been reading and hearing about carlfizomib for over a year now and we rejoice in its approval for refractory patients who have received at least two prior therapies and find them failing to contain the myeloma. Though it has been used in clinical trials, patients now have an FDA approved drug to fight advanced disease with, which is critical in their battle. While we are grateful that EZ remains in remission, we celebrate with those who need another drug to add to their arsenal.

As you can see by paragraph three above, the cost of life-saving chemotherapy for multiple myeloma is unbelievable. Krypolis will basically cost $10,000 a month. EZ has been on Velcade, and is currently taking Revlimid (about $8,000 a month). As he recently transitioned from Cobra to Medicare (on July 1st), we were shocked at what a prescription plan was going to cost us, with its premium and doughnut holes. Basically it was unaffordable due to the monthly Revlimid cost. Fortunately a series of phone calls led us to the Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation

Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation

PAN is an independent non-profit organization that provides assistance to underinsured patients for their out-of-pocket expenses for life-saving medications. 90 cents of every dollar donated to PAN goes directly to our patients. Since 2004, PAN has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance to patients in need. We offer help and hope for a healthy tomorrow for the growing underinsured population struggling with increasing out-of-pocket treatment costs.

PAN, along with the grants from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), have made it possible for us to continue to get the medication and treatment EZ's multiple myeloma requires. If you have a blood cancer and haven't contacted these two organizations for help with your treatment costs, co-pays, and prescriptions, we urge you to do so. We are so very grateful for their help.

Have a great weekend everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Glad to know and thank you for sharing... MM isn't cheap !!