Patient Spotlight: Betsy de Parry
When I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma nearly 19 years ago, my life was turned upside down.
Cancer was all I thought about and I threw myself into research to find the right treatment and planned to fight with all I had.
I was first treated with two different types of chemotherapy. Despite some early optimism, neither of these treatments worked. This was devastating for my husband and me as we dealt with the feeling that our options were slipping away.
But almost like a miracle, hope came in the form of a new radioimmunotherapy which had just recently become available and I was eager and ready to give the new treatment a try.
After just two doses over a 7-day period, the therapy had successfully delivered targeted radiation directly to the cancerous cells. At the time I couldn’t believe it, but I’ve been cancer free ever since.
My fight taught me so much, but perhaps more than anything, this experience showed me the live-saving radiopharmaceuticals are important for improving patient outcomes, but only for patients who have access to these revolutionary drugs.
Dishearteningly, many Americans are facing severe access barriers for other radiopharmaceutical-based approaches, especially when it comes to diagnostics. This is because current Medicare policy, instead of providing sufficient reimbursement for radiopharmaceuticals, allocates payment at a rate that is significantly less than the actual cost of the drug. As a result, these diagnostic drugs that find and confirm disease, are extremely difficult to access.
The Medicare Diagnostic Radiopharmaceutical Payment Equity Act (H.R. 3772), would change the current reimbursement system to ensure patients can access advanced nuclear diagnostics. But the only way this bill will pass is if patients, like us, voice our support for this legislation. I’m glad I had access to the radiopharmaceuticals I needed, and now I’m asking Congress to support this bill and make this innovation available for countless patients to come.