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Treatment Advances Alone Aren't Enough to Stand Up to Cancer: How a High-Touch Approach Can Help

October 24, 2019

Cancer seems to affect everyone by either having the disease or a friend or loved one coping with the illness. According to the organization Stand Up To Cancer, which raises money for collaborative cancer research and hosts an annual Stand Up To Cancer Day, every day in the U.S., 4,828 people are diagnosed with some form of cancer. Even with early detection and the treatment advances we’ve seen, cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the U.S. for both children and adults. While there is hope of a cure or long-term remission, many cancer treatments are not easy and pose challenges for patients. A pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) carries a great responsibility when it comes to cancer care that goes beyond member access to medications and this includes delivering a comprehensive specialty member care model that helps patients overcome these challenges and stand up to cancer.

From Side Effects to Costs, the Hurdles of Cancer Treatment

For patients being treated for cancer, dealing with an adverse effect is, unfortunately, all too common. If these side effects become severe or even life threatening, healthcare providers may have to reduce or hold a patient’s dose, change the therapy, or even discontinue the potentially lifesaving treatment altogether. Even dose reductions or switches to treatment alternatives can lead to less than optimal therapy, therefore, it is important to find effective ways to manage side effects so patients can stay on the preferred therapy.

Costs can also be a concern. Some new cancer treatments can be over $100,000,[1] making therapy costs a potential financial hardship for families. One study found that in trying to save money, 20% of cancer patients took less than the prescribed amount of their medication, 19% only partially filled prescriptions and 24% avoided filling their prescription altogether.[2]

Providing the Support Patients Need: Envision Offers Side Effect Management Strategies that Help Enable 98.6% of Cancer Patients to Remain on Optimal Therapy

Supporting the patient through their oncology treatment is critical to their success and safety. EnvisionRx provides a thoughtful approach to the care of cancer patients with our SpecialtyCare model. To ensure optimal outcomes for patients, we provide condition-focused clinical controls, true integration with our specialty pharmacy, EnvisionSpecialty, for increased efficiency in care, meaningful data to identify risks and close care gaps, and individualized care for the patient.

EnvisionSpecialty’s oncology care team provides comprehensive support from the very first patient interaction, working with patients and their care teams before the first dose is even dispensed, discussing treatment expectations, key points that can affect therapy and determining their readiness to begin treatment. They also assess all patients for copay assistance, facilitating secondary coverage through copay support programs, grants or charitable funding to help patients afford their medications and continue their treatment.

EnvisionSpecialty’s clinically trained pharmacists continue to monitor and communicate with patients and their care teams throughout treatment to resolve any obstacles to initiating and maintaining optimal care. Their pharmacists are trained to provide over-the-counter, prescription and lifestyle recommendations to help clinically prevent, manage and resolve medication side effects. This care model has led to only 4.4% of our patients reducing their dosage, compared to an industry average of 14.5%, and a mere 1.4% of patients discontinuing treatment due to side effects, as opposed to the industry average of 6%.[3]

Dose Reduction Graphic     Side Effect Discontinuation Graphic

Making a Difference in the Fight Against Cancer

More than 15.5 million Americans are surviving today with a past cancer diagnosis.[4] As people continue to advocate, research and innovate to stand up to this devastating disease, Envision will continue to provide the support patients need to fight cancer.


[1] Kantarjian, Hagop, et al. High Cancer Drug Prices in the United States: Reasons and Proposed Solutions. Journal of Oncology Practice. Vol. 10, Issue 4, July 2014.

[2] Zafar, S, et al. The financial toxicity of cancer treatment: a pilot study assessing out-of-pocket expenses and the insured cancer patient's experience. The Oncologist. Feb 26, 2103.

[3] EnvisionPharmacies (2019). 2018 Specialty Rx Key Performance Indicators.

[4] American Cancer Society (2019). Cancer Facts & Figures 2019.


Download the EnvisionSpecialty  solution overview to see how we provide the support cancer patients need to improve outcomes.