The other day I fired off a quick post on the absurdity of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing to cut reimbursements for two radioimmunotherapy drugs for lymphoma to less than their cost. The two immunotherapy drugs in question are Bexxar (I-131 tositumomab) and Zevalin (Y-90 ibritumomab) – both drugs target the CD20 protein on the surface of normal and malignant B-lymphocytes, killing the cells by the radioactive emissions of their respective radionuclides.
Anyway, these are among the most effective drugs for several classes of lymphoma and once I heard from Karl Schwartz of Patients Against Lymphoma about the meager reimbursement proposal, I put up a quick alert and posted info for folks to register their support for the CMS to reconsider their reimbursement proposal. (I understand that Betsy de Parre gets the credit for finding out about this proposal and providing information on how to voice concern.).
Well, unbeknownest to me, there is a backchannel where the folks living with lymphoma communicate and I was nominated for their special ‘Martini Award.’ The beauty is I was nominated by a lovely woman named Sara who has survived lymphoma but suffered some neurological problems. While she has trouble spelling, her vibrant spirit and warm sense of humor comes through clearly in her writing:
Abel Pharmboy’s tirelss effrts on hs blog to frrthr tth advansmnt of tth limitng of Bexxar and Zev’s funding is a tru insistnt reechng owt for tths(geez i hope im sayngg tths rite)
Abel Pharmboy’s Misgided Money page
heer ar tth rquirrmnts for tth Martini awrrd……………”A new awrrd, tth rquirmnts establsshd by th acadmy ar…………a SEREUS devoshn to reserch of lymphoma and and its cure, and tirelss advcsy mcch line th enrjizr bunny
An enjoymnt of dinnr partys is a rquirmnt as well, and tth abilty to distngsh reely good drinks
and OF CORS!!!! we mustt be SPURRD ON, feel tth need to be spurrd on, eethr by tth award reseevr’s dedicashn or by hs abilty to find just th rite good drink. ”
i nomnatd him, and anjou 2nded hm…………SO wtthowt frrthr ado………
Abel! yuo ar owr 2nd winnr of tth covetd Dedication Martini Award!!!!!! filld wt martini olivs, of cors!
Reader and frequent commenter, anjou, was then kind enough to follow on the forum with a list of some of my cancer-related links, driving a good deal of traffic my way – this is a very active patient forum.
I am truly honored, folks. But all I was doing was reporting the injustice of two curative treatments (radioimmunotherapeutics) being reimbursed by Medicare at below cost – I’m no economist, but that approach is certain to limit patient accessibility to these treatments.
So, keep me posted on how your petition to the goes to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) – other readers can sign the petition here. Those who are more ambitious can also follow the information here to comment directly via the FDA, but today (14 Sept) is the last day to do so.