July 3, 2009

Amgen Helps Reduce Out-of-pocket Costs for Neulasta®


Amgen’s Neulasta FIRST STEP™ Program provides assistance to eligible, low-income, commercially-insured chemotherapy patients who need help with their co-insurance or co-payment requirement for Neulasta® (pegfilgrastim).

Neulasta is a blood cell growth factor that can be an important addition to the chemotherapy regimen for many patients. Although chemotherapy improves outcomes for many cancer patients, it is associated with unpleasant and sometimes life-threatening side effects, including neutropenia, which occurs when white blood cells (immune cells) are destroyed by chemotherapy, leaving the immune system unable to fight infections. Neulasta is given by injection during chemotherapy cycles and can reduce infections, hospitalizations, medical cost, dose delays, and death associated with infection in neutropenic patients.

Amgen, the pharmaceutical company that produces Neulasta, has now taken a step to make Neulasta more affordable for patients who need it—the Neulasta FIRST STEP Program. With the Neulasta FIRST STEP Program, Amgen will pay an eligible patient’s entire Neulasta co-insurance or co-payment requirement during the first cycle of a new chemotherapy regimen started by December 31, 2009. For all subsequent chemotherapy cycles, Amgen will pay the patient’s Neulasta co-insurance or co-payment amount in excess of an eligible patient’s required portion of $50 per Neulasta treatment. Eligible patients can be enrolled in the Neulasta FIRST STEP™ Program for their entire course of chemotherapy. Once treatment is completed, eligible patients may reapply for program benefits if they require subsequent treatment with chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy-induced neutropenia can become a serious condition for several reasons: many patients who develop neutropenia will require a delay in treatment or a dose reduction, which can prevent them from receiving full benefits of treatment; patients who develop neutropenia may require hospitalization; and even minor infections can become life-threatening. Neulasta is often a critical component for the prevention and management of chemotherapy-induced neutropenia. The Neulasta FIRST STEP Program will reduce out-of-pocket costs for eligible patients and ensure that they receive the treatment they need.

For more information, visit www.neulastafirststep.com.

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