Knowledge is power, and Chad Saward, director of patient advocacy at Celgene, knows as well as anyone that a little knowledge goes a long way for people with multiple myeloma . That’s why he and Celgene are dedicated to helping patients understand their options, not only from a treatment perspective, but also from financial, emotional and psychological perspectives.
At last year’s national summit for leaders of multiple myeloma support groups hosted by the International Myeloma Foundation, Saward was approached by a patient who was struggling to pay for a Celgene medication he had been prescribed. Saward referred the patient to Celgene Patient Support® , which helps patients who have been prescribed Celgene medications understand their insurance and learn about financial assistance that may be available to help them pay for their Celgene medicine. For this patient, a Celgene program helped to substantially reduce the patient’s out of pocket responsibility for a Celgene therapy and provided some peace of mind.
“At Celgene, we’re committed to improving patient care, and education is an essential component of that goal,” Saward said. “For patients with multiple myeloma, there’s definitely a benefit to being informed and engaged when trying to manage this deadly cancer.”
At diagnosis, multiple myeloma patients often start treatment immediately and have little time to learn about the disease, their prognosis and treatment options. For resources and support around these topics to be useful, they must be readily available and accessible.
At Celgene, we’re committed to improving patient care, and education is an essential component of that goal.
Over the past decade, Celgene has supported patient education initiatives for several multiple myeloma advocacy groups including the International Myeloma Foundation, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and Myeloma Crowd.
“The role that these patient organizations play is vital to providing education and support that can make a significant difference in a patient’s life,” Saward said.
Every patient has a different experience based on their age, time of diagnosis and their ability to cope with stressful situations, among many other factors. So the information and programs provided to patients need to recognize those differences. For instance, through its Standing in the Gaap initiative, Celgene has created educational resources to raise awareness about how multiple myeloma affects African Americans differently, including a higher risk of developing the disease when compared to white Americans.
Supporting multiple myeloma patients includes offering resources for the people they rely upon, such as their physicians, caregivers and policymakers. Since doctors and nurses are often a patient’s main source for disease education, Celgene has resources such as the Multiple Myeloma Center for Nurses and Myeloma Central. On the policy side, Celgene and the Patients Equal Access Coalition are working together to educate legislators on the need for oral parity legislation to ensure patients have access to and coverage for the most appropriate therapies, regardless of how they are administered.
— Celgene in Myeloma (@Celgene_Myeloma) March 29, 2017
In the end, these efforts have brought Saward closer to understanding the unmet needs of multiple myeloma patients. “I have the privilege of talking with patients, many of whom I consider my friends,” Saward said. “Tremendous progress has been made with multiple myeloma treatments, but we need to keep our eye on the ball. I still continue to lose friends to this disease.”1
For more information about myeloma symptoms and treatments, visit the websites of these organizations: