Medicare announced today that they will pay for Provenge, the prostate cancer vaccine treatment that has been shown to increase the life span of men with incurable prostate cancer by an additional four months.
The decision by Medicare means that the millions of American men age 65 and older who have their healthcare paid for by the government program will have access to Provenge.
A little known fact about the process by which Medicare determines whether or not to pay for a new medication or service is that the cost of the new drug or service cannot be taken into consideration - only the merits of the therapy itself. This fact was probably the saving grace for Provenge as it costs around $93,000.
The decision by Medicare is expected to be finalized on June 30.