Mesothelioma and Cancer Patients Who Received Certain Chemotherapy Drugs May be Eligible for Reimbursement
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), a worldwide biopharmaceutical company and manufacturer of many cancer drugs, has agreed to pay $19 million to patients and third-party payor companies (insurance companies) for overcharging for the costs of cancer drugs used for the treatment of lung cancer, mesothelioma and many other forms of cancer. At least one of the drugs in question, Blenoxane, is used to treat pleural effusion, or the buildup of fluid in the space between the lining of the lungs and the chest wall, that commonly affects pleural mesothelioma patients.
Pleural effusions can seriously restrict the lung’s ability to expand, even collapsing its supportive tissues, resulting in pain and shortness of breath. Prior to receiving treatment for mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer that is almost always caused by asbestos exposure, patients must have the excess fluid build-up drained and managed. Pleural mesothelioma patients and lung cancer patients typically undergo similar treatment modalities.
The settlement claims the average wholesale prices reported by BMS for the cancer treatment drugs were false and inflated. The reported average wholesale prices were used to set the amount Medicare Part B recipients, and most private insurers reimbursed for these drugs. BMS denies any wrongdoing, but is settling to avoid the burden and expense of continued litigation.
“Medicare Part B Subscribers” received letters in the mail this week if the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services found that they had received BMS chemotherapy drugs between January 1, 1991 and December 31, 2004. If a patient or a deceased spouse made a percentage co-payment for any of the following BMS drugs during this time period, they may be eligible for a settlement.
Chemotherapy drugs are usually given in combinations of two or more when treating mesothelioma, with the preferred combination being gemcitabine and cisplatin. According to the American Cancer Society, additional chemotherapy drugs used for the treatment of mesothelioma include cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), carboplatin, doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and epirubicin (Ellence).
For further information involving this settlement see BMS Settlement.