If Lung Cancer Drug Fails, Takeda Will Offer Rebate

According to a recent article from Medscape, Takeda Pharmaceuticals is offering a rebate for brigatinib (Alunbrig) which is used for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)

Non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for approximately 85% of all lung cancers. Histologically, NSCLC is divided into adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and large cell carcinoma. Patients with NSCLC require a complete staging workup to evaluate the extent of disease because stage plays a major role in determining the choice of treatment.

Symptoms:

NSCLC is often insidious, producing no symptoms until the disease is well advanced. Early recognition of symptoms may be beneficial to patient outcomes.

At initial diagnosis, 20% of patients have localized disease, 25% of patients have regional metastasis, and 55% of patients have distant spread of disease. Symptoms depend on the location of the cancer. 

The most common signs and symptoms of lung cancer include the following:

  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Wheezing
  • Hoarseness
  • Recurring infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Fatigue

Metastatic signs and symptoms may include the following:

  • Bone pain
  • Spinal cord impingement
  • Neurologic problems such as headache, weakness or numbness of limbs, dizziness, and seizures

Brigatinib

Brigatinib is used as a treatment for adults with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Takeda Pharmaceuticals partnered with Point32Health in order to make brigatinib more widely accessible to patients who may need it.

However, Takeda has agreed that if a patient taking brigatinib cannot continue on the medication for 3 or more months due to effectiveness or their tolerability, they will provide a refund to Point32Health. The list price of brigatinib is $17,000 for just a single month of treatment.

Not all cancer patients respond to treatment, so reimbursement in these situations is an area that is “prime for innovative financing approaches.”

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