WASHINGTON (AP) -- Medicare officials are confirming that the program will pay for the prostate cancer drug Provenge, an innovative therapy that costs $93,000 and extends life about four months.
The decision from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid repeats an earlier proposed ruling that the biotech drug from Dendreon Corp. is a "reasonable and necessary" medicine. The agency will only pay for the treatment when it is used in accordance with the instructions on the label.
The decision ensures that thousands of older men will be able to take the drug through government-backed health care coverage. With government reimbursement, analysts estimate Provenge could rack up $1 billion in sales next year.
The decision is important for Dendreon because most prostate cancer patients are 65 or older.