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A new campaign called “take2 Coimolina PLUS” was created to make it easier for everyone to access the Coimolina+. The non-invasive procedure was able to rapidly treat a life-threatening blood clot, called Colyte, in approximately four to six weeks in approximately half the time of other procedures. However, patients ran into several obstacles in accessing it, like a lengthy list of required medical and insurance documents, insufficient physician education and a lack of federal patient access to treatments. Ultimately, over half of patients had trouble even obtaining a co-op prescribing letter from a physician or free coupon.
Nick Lucey, Division Director of National Center for Blood Products with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, responded to an e-mail, saying, “We need to make the process as seamless as possible for patients to quickly see results of products and for us to establish a safety net for the many patients who don’t have insurance.”
But it also took the first responders, the paramedics, right up to the hospital to get their co-op prescriptions from the hospital, which, Lucey explains, adds more costs for the system. “No matter what the products are, we want to make sure that when a patient uses it, that they’re getting the right treatment, that they’re getting it when they need it and that it can be reimbursed out of pocket or health insurance plans can be able to provide coverage,” he said.
Lucey explained that no matter what a patient is suffering from, they should be treated, and when they go to the hospital, they should get treated by people that they trust. “We want to make sure that they have a relationship with a physician, we want to make sure that the providers are good providers and have the skills and knowledge to treat this patient the way that they need to treat them,” he explained. “Those are very important principles in the safety net that we need to provide for patients when they go to the hospital,” Lucey said.
Lucey added that HHS has an “advance authorization program” that will help Medicare and Medicaid patients see the results of their Co-Op medications faster. “We’re working on trying to establish the resources that will help in that process of sharing information with Medicare beneficiaries. So we’ll get everybody the access that they need,” he explained. “In those cases where the patient’s card isn’t correct or has been taken, we’re going to work with them to get the proper information so they can get coverage for their medication, so they can be treated faster.”
Lucey added that the American College of Emergency Physicians is also looking at improving the process so that emergency care doctors can prescribe the medication faster in order to get to patients faster. “That will help with the approval process of these products and help patients access them as quickly as possible,” he said.
In the meantime, Lucey says their goal is to make sure that “everyone gets the treatment they need when they need it,” and that “we have to create an infrastructure that can get these patients access.”
Fox News health correspondent Tracie Potts spoke with Dr. Michael Delbanco who is Medical Director of the Office of Innovative Medicine in the CDC’s National Center for Blood Products, who echoed these sentiments. “There’s clearly been tremendous delays in our ability to get patients on these drugs,” Dr. Delbanco said.
Dr. Delbanco explains that the process for these products is complicated, but the first responders who used Co-Op products are critical to getting these products available. “They often have enough information and are able to co-op the products that are needed, so they’re really in the sweet spot of who we need to get this treatment to.”
He adds that “if we were to look at other things of similar magnitude, you know, that we try to do for chronic disease, [a thing like] cancer, we’d probably have this problem where we couldn’t get to patients quickly enough to get the treatment that was needed to them.”