BALTIMORE, Nov. 17, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- RetireSafe, a 400,000-supporter strong national advocacy group for older Americans, today urged the Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC) to support the full reimbursement of costs related to the important new Provenge treatment procedure for prostate cancer patients. RetireSafe President Thair Phillips urged the Committee to "consider not only the many Americans suffering from prostate cancer, and their families, but also the millions of older Americans who are not yet directly affected by the disease, but who will, nonetheless, be affected by this decision." He said, "These seniors care very deeply about the suffering and choices of the individuals who do have prostate cancer and also about the role of government in determining the availability of the best possible medical treatment."
"The MEDCAC decision today will have a lasting effect on future research and development of innovative new medications," Phillips continued. "If the Provenge treatment is denied for reimbursement, future innovation will suffer along with millions of cancer patients," he said. "We second Dr. Allen Lichter, head of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, that it is 'extremely chilling' to innovation in cancer research if new FDA-approved treatments against cancer must now go through a second round of efficacy and safety review from CMS, even for 'on-label' use," Phillips stated. "That kind of rationing, after the 15-year, $1 billion development of this state-of-the-art treatment, would be beyond cruel," Phillips charged.
"The clinical effectiveness of the Provenge treatment is not in dispute," he added. "Whether the MEDCAC admits it or not the real core of this discussion is price, and price is the very thing that should not be a point of discussion," he stated.
"Finally, we see many new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs and treatments applauded, while others, like the Provenge treatment for prostate cancer, are attacked for supposedly being too costly," he said. "This apparent bias is troubling to seniors and serves to break the trust seniors have in the agency that has a huge impact on their everyday lives," Phillips went on to say. "This decision impacts not only prostate patients but every American, especially older Americans, and MEDCAC should carefully consider the far reaching implications of this landmark decision," he concluded.