Improving Access to the Most Up-to-Date Cancer Care

Cancer treatment can be scary and complicated. Express Scripts is partnering with Labcorp to help ensure members have access to targeted and personalized treatments.

A new Oncology Care Value partnership with Labcorp is helping to ensure patients have access to targeted and personalized treatments.

At Express Scripts, the pharmacy benefits management arm of Evernorth, our Oncology Care Value program has been providing industry-leading support for plans and patients since 2016. Today, we’re announcing the next step in providing members with access to the right cancer medication at the right time through a testing program collaboration with Labcorp, a leading global life sciences company.

A record number of novel cancer medicines have become available in recent years, and more than 200 phase III clinical trials are in progress. This demonstrates the significant investments and innovations that are constantly advancing oncology treatments.  One study, published in the Journal of Medical Economics in November 2020, shows that cancer drug approvals are associated with a significant reduction in deaths from the most common cancers, but that new treatments are not always available to those who need them most. In particular, the high cost of newer cancer medications has created access challenges globally. In the United States, the National Cancer Institute estimates the average cost of medical care and drugs tops $42,000 in the year following a cancer diagnosis, with some treatments exceeding $1 million.

In collaboration with Labcorp, Express Scripts is sponsoring a testing program aimed at providing genetic insights to help patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and their physicians monitor treatments and care management decisions.

“Our relationship with Labcorp aims to improve patient outcomes by monitoring BCR-ABL1 levels indicative of effective treatment response in patients,” said Dan Chambers, vice president, product management, Express Scripts. “Testing is provided at no charge to members of clients enrolled in the program who are diagnosed with CML to measure the results of their current therapies.”

Improving Access to Personalized Care

Cancer treatment can be scary and complicated, especially for medically underserved populations. Labcorp’s extensive network of testing facilities helps offer greater access to all, regardless of factors such as where they live, race, or socioeconomic status.

Monitoring BCR-ABL1 levels while patients are undergoing cancer treatment puts important information in the patient’s and physician’s hands and enables them to optimize treatment decisions. Our clients participating in the Oncology Care Value program are able to offer BCR-ABL1 testing to CML patients taking tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). This testing is critical because it helps to determine if the treatment is effective and if patients are responding to therapy. Sometimes, treatment can become less effective over time due to resistance and/or intolerance. Without proper and effective treatment, CML can evolve to blast crisis, a disease phase that behaves like an acute leukemia, leading to disease progression. 

Taking a Holistic Approach to Rising Cancer Costs

At Express Scripts, we’re looking at oncology care from every angle. In addition to the BCR-ABL1 testing, our Oncology Care Value Program also includes the following three components, which drive our commitment to fair drug pricing and align the cost of a medication with its outcomes for various types of cancer:

  • Indication-based management aligns drug cost with indication-based efficacy.
  • Specialized care from Accredo’s Oncology Therapeutic Resource Center delivers enhanced clinical expertise with 4% more patients achieving optimal adherence compared to other pharmacies, leading to better outcomes.
  • Client savings through drug discounts and client reimbursements for members who discontinue therapy early provide greater cost management.

In the U.S., health care costs associated with cancer treatment are expected to rise 34% by 2030. These costs represent an ever-growing challenge to plan sponsors’ budgets and patients’ financial stability. Our comprehensive approach to managing cancer care helps decrease client costs while increasing members’ access to the care they need.