By DCode Care Team | December 24th 2021
Direct discounts from pharma companies to save chemotherapy costs
Chemotherapy is a form of treatment where cancer drugs are introduced in a cancer patient’s body to destroy growing cancerous cells. It is also used to achieve goals like destruction of energy source of cancerous cells, removal of remaining cells after the surgery or radiotherapy, shrinkage of the tumour before surgery etc.
The chemotherapy cost in Bangalore begins from Rs.15,000/- and can go as high as Rs.50,000/- per cycle. Chemotherapy price varies based on hospital admission and oncologist fees, the number of cycles of chemo and the medicine charges.
Your oncologist prescribes the specific chemotherapy medicines or drugs that are proven to work on your type of cancer. By the time you finish all your required cycles of chemotherapy the total costs may range from Rs 4 lacs to 20 lacs, and can be difficult to afford for many. In a previous article we had discussed how more than 50% of chemotherapy costs are actually just administration charges and how you can reduce your chemotherapy costs significantly using our tips.
The other and most significant part of the chemotherapy cost is the drug charge or the cost of the medicine. Chemotherapy treatment is done by injecting cancer medicine by various methods depending on the cancer type and stage of cancer. In this article we will discuss a fairly proven method to reduce drug charges used for your chemotherapy. But some of the cancer types or conditions may not be able to take advantage of this method too. It is therefore important to first understand why cancer drugs are expensive and which ones might have cheaper or discounted alternatives.
Cancer drugs are expensive mostly because:
The new drugs are generally under patent and only a single pharma company has the license to manufacture the drug making it unaffordable for most patients. Once the drug is taken off-patent it is then called a generic drug and a number of pharma companies manufacture the same drug increasing competition and thus bringing prices down.
Generic cancer drugs will be cheaper and hence more affordable when used in chemotherapy treatment.
A lot of cancer types don’t have a single drug for chemotherapy and multiple drugs are administered either sequentially or in combination with other drugs. Since some old drugs continue to be used even after new drugs are introduced they have a monopoly and the price of such drugs never come down.
If your cancer is diagnosed at an early stage and the cancer type is less-complex in nature, you have the option to choose from multiple proven drugs. Late-stage cancer treatment often involves using patented medicines which are new lines of treatment to improve chances of survival.
Patient Assistance Programs are run by pharma companies to give patients access to drugs that they may not be able to afford, otherwise. These programs generally have offers like 2+1, which denote that if you buy 2 vials of a cancer drug from a pharma company the third one is free. This leads to overall discount on the drug cost.
There are various channels through which pharma companies develop for patients to enrol for Patient Assistance Programs:
1. Medium-sized Hospitals or Day Care Centres: You can get in touch with the pharma companies and their distributors which run such programs through the hospital or day care centre where you are receiving treatment. Large comprehensive hospitals may not have a method to help you but medium and small hospitals or day care centres will put in touch.
2. Oncologists: Medical representatives inform oncologists about the patient assistance programs being run by pharma companies. Your oncologist will put you in touch with the pharma company distributor or stockist to help you avail such programs
3. Healthcare Companies: There are a lot of companies which now help patients ease out their cancer treatment journey. At DCode Care, we are able to check if you are eligible for a patient assistance program and will put you in touch with the right channel to reduce your chemotherapy costs. You can get in touch with our patient counsellors and they can guide you through the process.
Pharma companies generally don’t help patients directly with discounts and offers. Their stockists and distributors are enabled with the right information and process to help you avail such programs.
Ask for a patient assistance program from your oncologist, hospital or contact us at Dcode Care.
You should also keep in mind that not all cancer patients are eligible for such programs. So, you need to first find out if you can avail of such an offer.
If you are eligible, your prescription from the oncologist or hospital will mention clearly that a vial or bottle is free for your treatment under the correct Pharma company program.
Patient Assistance Programs are designed to assist patients who cannot afford their cancer treatment. Also, all cancer drugs may not be included under a patient assistance program.
So, the following criteria are checked while finding out your eligibility for patient assistance programs.
We have an ongoing program for helping Cancer patients in Bangalore to avail of Patient Assistance Programs, call or WhatsApp us at +91 9741259596 to check if you are eligible for a program.
At DCode Care, we put you, the patient and your caregivers at the centre of the treatment journey. Your interests and financial abilities are important factors that we weigh in while choosing the right hospital, oncologist and pathway for your treatment. We do not charge you for getting in touch with our patient counsellors nor do we charge for putting you in touch with the right Patient Assistance Program. We are a neutral organisation which simplifies cancer treatment by providing easy to understand options and possibilities to Cancer patients.