Medicare is working on changing coverage to include allogeneic/donor transplants (Yeah! This is great news!). Today, donor transplants are are not covered by Medicare, even though it can be an effective and even potentially curative approach for multiple myeloma patients. They are used only occasionally in myeloma treatment because they have a higher side effect and fatality rate than other options like autologous transplant or combination therapies. However, for patients who have relapsed all other options, it is a potential game-changer.
As part of their homework to make sure this approval is a good choice, they are creating a clinical study that will give them results to determine if allo transplants give patients better outcomes than today’s treatment options.There's just one hitch with the way they are going about it. They want to create a clinical trial that has an allo transplant arm and a non-transplant arm so they can compare allo to other treatments. This is a problem for these reasons:
So here's what you can do: You and your doctor can send in comments before November 28th to give Medicare some input. And here's what you can request (please do so in your own words):
To learn more about the proposed Medicare study, click here.
To learn more about the issue and the opinion of the National Donor Marrow Program (Be The Match), click here.
about the author
Lizzy Smith was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 at age 44. Within days, she left her job, ended her marriage, moved, and entered treatment. "To the extent I'm able, I want to prove that despite life's biggest challenges, it is possible to survive and come out stronger than ever," she says.