Oncolytics Today: Supporting cancer patients & advocating for affordability

By , Manager of Medical Affairs

There is nothing more important to Suzanne Cali than her family, not even her own health.  

Suzanne is living with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), an illness that requires diligent medication adherence. She once paused her medications for only two weeks and saw her CLL coming “roaring back” from a remission.

Unfortunately, like many people living with cancer, her medication is expensive. She is only able to afford her prescriptions with charitable assistance from the PAN Foundation. Without that financial support, she would need to take out a mortgage on her home or drain her savings, two options she isn’t willing to consider.  

“If I didn’t have PAN’s assistance, I simply would not pay the cost of the drugs because to do so would mean that we would have to sell our home or use up our savings.”

“How could that be helpful to my family,” she said.

Suzanne’s son-in-law is living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and for Suzanne, the ability to provide some support to her family, including her teenage granddaughter, takes priority over her own health. She explained that she would rather risk her CLL “roaring back” again than become a burden to her family and eliminate her ability to pass on some money someday.  

The Seattle resident has a story that is heartbreakingly familiar in the U.S. She should be focusing on enjoying her daily walks with her husband and golden retriever, not worrying about the cost at the pharmacy counter.

The PAN Foundation is proud to offer grants for nearly 70 diseases, helping people in need pay for their co-pays, coinsurance, and even subsidize the cost of transportation to the pharmacy or other medical care.  

PAN also developed the first of its kind app to alert patients, pharmacies, and healthcare providers when disease-specific financial assistance becomes available at nine different charitable organizations.

We also focus on advocating for Medicare reform and other common-sense legislation to ease the burden on those living with serious illnesses. Learn more about PAN at panfoundation.org.

PAN Foundation grants

PAN provides patient assistance grants for nearly 70 diagnoses, including many cancers, and chronic and rare diseases.

Healthcare providers and pharmacy staff can use our eligibility checker to find out whether patients qualify for any of these funds in minutes, searching by disease subtype or diagnosis code. These grants often cover 100 percent of a patient’s out-of-pocket prescription medication costs, including deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance.

We cover products that are FDA-approved or listed in official compendia or evidence-based guidelines for each disease. This includes brand and generic medications. Eligible patients can also receive transportation assistance to cover travel expenses to their doctor’s offices and pharmacy. 
 
To apply, patients—or their pharmacists applying on their behalf—complete a paperless application, get instant approval, and in most cases, can begin using their grant immediately. You can apply online in minutes and track your grant in our online portals.

FundFinder provides real-time alerts

Over the years, we recognized that searching the internet for open funds, whether at PAN or another organization, was challenging and time-consuming. It’s why we developed the first patient assistance app, FundFinder, which allows users to sign up for notifications for 200 funds across nine different charitable organizations.

Our award-winning app allows users to search for support organizations that may have peer support, educational resources, and other helpful offerings. It’s free to use, anyone can sign up, and with millions of notifications sent out in our first two years, it’s connecting thousands of patients with funding opportunities. Check it out at fundfinder.org

Funding alerts through the wait list 

We do our best to keep our funds open all year round. If the fund your patient needs is closed, we recommend signing them up for the wait list. Our wait list system allows prospective grantees to get the first chance to apply for assistance when funding becomes available.

Our website also tracks available funding at other charitable organizations, so even if our fund is closed, you’ll be able to quickly see whether help is available somewhere else. Our goal is to help patients in need find help, regardless of the source.  

This article was published in the Spring 2022 issue of Oncolytics Today