MIAMI (CBS4) — Arimidex is a drug used to decrease the amount of estrogen the body makes, which slows cancers that need estrogen to grow. But the problem is that it is expensive. So some women have had to take a cheaper less effective drug.
Now, there’s some good news for people who take Arimidex.
Marion Bushman was thrilled to learn that the drug she uses to prevent cancer has finally become more affordable.
For the past several months Marion has been struggling to pay for Arimidex, an anti-estrogen drug her doctor prescribed to help avoid a recurrence of her breast cancer.
It’s expensive and can cost upwards of $1,500 for a 3-month supply.
That’s hard on a fixed income.
“At the beginning it was about $300,” said Bushman.
Some patients have to choose between taking the drug or taking Tamoxifen, a cheaper but less effective drug.
On a daily basis oncologist Dr. Marilyn Raymond has this discussion with patients.
“It’s a tough decision when you’re putting food on the table for your family versus getting the best drug for your breast cancer. It’s a terrible decision,” Raymond admitted.
Arimidex is in a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors and up until about 3 or 4 months ago those drugs were only available in brand name.
“And so when Arimidex went generic about 3 or 4 months ago it substantially dropped the price by about a third of what it was costing before.”
For many people like Marion it’s a godsend.
“Well I was overwhelmed because I’m saving over $400 a year. It was getting to be a strain.”
Marion and her husband have a good use for the money.
“That money can be for pleasures, for giving gifts to my grandchildren, and great grandchildren. And just make life a little easier.”
For more information about breast cancer education, diagnosis and treatment, just go to this website, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Chapter.