Greg Painter is a great guy. Ask anyone who grew up with Greg in Upper Darby. He married his childhood sweetheart Rian who he met was only 16 years old. It was true love, and today they are the happy parents of 3 wonderful children. Rian, explains, “We were the happily ever after.” Their lives have been turned upside down, though, when Greg, who looked the healthiest guy around, found out that he had kidney cancer. Rian remarks, “He has been through it all, surgery, chemo and radiation.” Greg has continued the fight against this cancer for 5 years now. Together as a family they have fought. Today, Rian told of a new fight and this time it was with their healthcare insurance. The insurance company has denied medication that Greg’s physician had prescribed. The medication could give Greg a longer life, It could lead to a life that Greg could enjoy with his family and like his wife. Rian tells that the family “just want more time together”
Rian, is now, fighting the insurance company to enable her husband a medication that would give Greg that time his family wants to share with him. The drug is an FDA approved drug. The drug, is called, Cometriq. The drug has been available since 2012 when the Food and Drug Administration released a statement that the medication when given to cancer patients had lived an average of 11.2 months without tumor growth. In other words it gave more time to families to spend time with their loved one.There is a difference as to why this drug was picked. Just two days ago, Aevo pharmaceutical announce they had a kidney cancer drug but it hasn’t been tested on humans, The announcement saw the company’s stock soar by 45%. The need for kidney cancer medications is great. This drug could give Greg a much better quality of life.
The drug Cometriq, according to the manufacturer’s website, Exelixis, is a medication that has slowed tumor development. Those who were treated with Cometriq were 42% less likely to die or have their cancer worsen. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield has determined that the use would be considered experimental. There has been cases of kidney cancer slowing with this medication and that is what get Rian worked up. “How can it be experimental if the drug has been on the market since 2012? Rian asks. One thing’s for sure, Rian isn’t giving up. She has taken her battle publically and has set up a petition on her husband’s behalf to get their insurance company to change their decision.
Today, an email from FDA stated that they “do not stipulate what drugs insurance companies may cover or to what extent the drug may be covered. However, most insurance companies construct their policies in accordance with the labeling of that particular product.” The email explains that in Pennsylvania that the Insurance Commissioner may be able to help with the process to get clearance for the medication. The insurance company that is denying is Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Rian explained today that the family has appealed the decision of the insurance company and just found out they again were denied payment of the medication. That is where the family is now. Rian won’t stop fighting, “We will continue fighting and will appeal to whoever will help us.”