Seniors Face Medicare Cost Barrier for New Cancer Medications

June 13, 2011 - 4:11 AM

Medicare Drugs

Rita Moore spends time in her garden Wednesday, June 8, 2011, in Corcoran, Calif. Moore is now diagnosed with advanced cancer and could not afford the prescription drug she needed to help stop the spread of the disease. She is now looking at options for end-of-life care. Researchers say seniors with Medicare prescription drug coverage are facing steep copays for the newest kind of cancer drugs. Unlike older drugs, the medications come as pills and do not have to be administered at a clinic. She needed a drug called Sutent for kidney cancer, but the pharmacy was going to charge her $2,400 for a month’s supply, more than her income. (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Researchers say seniors with Medicare prescription drug coverage are facing steep copays for the newest kind of cancer drugs.

Unlike older drugs, the medications come as pills and do not have to be administered at a clinic.

But a recent study finds that about 1 in 6 people with Medicare aren't filling their prescriptions.

Forty-six percent of Medicare beneficiaries faced copayments of more than $500.

Rita Moore of Corcoran, Calif. is one of those beneficiaries. She needed a drug called Sutent for kidney cancer, but the pharmacy was going to charge her $2,400 for a month's supply, more than her income.