The non-profit organization will provide up to $8,500 in financial aid as a yearlong grant to eligible patients who have annual household incomes of up to 500% of the federal poverty level. The assistance is for prescription drugs and other treatment biologics.
“Through this fund, HealthWell will be able to help improve access to care for many patients with Mantle Cell Lymphoma,” Jeffrey Peppercorn, MD, HealthWell’s scientific and ethics advisor, said in a press release.
“Patients with mantle cell lymphoma often face a difficult diagnosis. Worrying about access to therapy and financial burdens can make the distress of diagnosis and treatment worse for patients and their families. Providing financial assistance can relieve distress and give patients the best chance for a good outcome,” added Peppercorn, an oncologist.
Roughly 5% of people with lymphoma have MCL, a fast-growing, rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It develops when the body produces abnormal lymphoma cells — white blood cells that fight infection — that then accumulate in the lymph nodes. The disease is usually diagnosed at advanced stages, and in most cases involves the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow. Overproduction of a protein called cyclin D1 is found in more than 90% of patients.
A combination of chemotherapy drugs and the targeted therapy Rituxan (rituximab) — one of the treatments the program covers — is usually used against the often hard-to-treat disorder. Depending on factors including disease stage and the individual’s age and overall health, other options may include stem cell treatments, radiotherapy, and different targeted therapies.
Usually appearing in people over age 60, the disease is more common in men than women.
“Many patients living with mantle cell lymphoma face multiple challenges in treating their condition,” said Don Liss, MD, a foundation board member. “We appreciate that our donors understand the needs of these individuals and the financial hardship treating MCL may present.”
Aid eligibility requirements include being on Medicare, receiving treatment in the U.S., and having income that falls within guidelines. Go here for more information and to apply.
HealthWell has covered insurance gaps for more than 405,000 U.S. adults and children across more than 65 diseases through $1.25 billion in grant assistance for life-altering therapies, according to the foundation.