The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted final approval of a new brand of a chemotherapy drug already in use by oncologists to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma and advanced stage non small cell lung cancer. Starting in February 2020, doctors will be allowed to prescribe Pemfexy, a type of chemotherapy drug called pemetrexed, and provide an alternative treatment to the name brand drug Alimta.
The new chemotherapy works as an injection, which is combined with cisplatin for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma whose disease is unresectable or who are otherwise ineligible for curative surgery in combination with cisplatin. This new type of pemetrexed injection was already tentatively approved for use by the FDA in 2017 after the agency determined that the drug met all required quality, safety, and efficacy standards.
However, patients in the United States were not eligible to receive the treatment because the company that holds the patent for the standard pemetrexed treatment held patent protections on the product. Now, with a settlement agreement between the two sides, Eagle pharmaceuticals will be able to bring limited supplies of Pemfexy beginning in February 2020 and uncapped entry in April 2020.
The benefits to patients with Pemfexy comes from the new version of pemetrexed being in a liquid form, as opposed to the current version being available only in powder, which must be diluted by hand and can lead to dosage errors. Further, patients will enjoy the benefits of lowered costs of treatment due to Pemfexy’s ready use form, as well as competition in the healthcare market of the product.
Mesothelioma, is a rare form of lung cancer directly linked to asbestos exposure. Because the disease has a latency period of 20 to 50 years before patients show symptoms, physicians are often left with few options to treat the cancer. If caught early, doctors generally will opt for surgical removal of tumors, but if the disease reaches a certain stage, then there may be no other choice but to use methods such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
While researchers around the world continue to make progress on new methods to fight mesothelioma, there remains no definitive way to cure the disease. For the vast majority of patients, doctors are left with the only choice to help manage mesothelioma cancer and help make the person’s life more comfortable. Patients with mesothelioma are encouraged to learn about the disease to help make decisions about their care, develop a support network – including others who also have the disease, and to plan ahead with health care professionals and family members.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.