Michele McCourt on Directing Patients to Financial Medication Assistance

Michele McCourt, senior director of the CancerCare Co-Payment Assistance Foundation, recognizes the financial hardships of cancer patients when paying for medications.

Are you hearing from patients who read about new treatments that could cure them of their cancer, but who are facing barriers to getting access to this care?
We do. Patients will call us, and we do have a copayment assistance foundation, we do have funding for some types of cancers. We do hear from the patients when they call us and we don’t have a fund open for their type of cancer and they are very frustrated. "My doctor says this is what I need to take and I can’t get it." Or the co-pay is $4000. Sometimes they get misinformation, too. They don’t fully understand what their out of pocket is versus what the full cost of the drug is.

We do hear from patients, "This is great, I heard this medication can save my life, but I can’t get it." We will refer them to the drug company but even that, I guess, patients have to qualify for those programs. Medicare patients are not usually eligible for manufacturer sponsored programs. So, it does leave a lot of gaps in coverage for a lot of people. 
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