New hope for mother fighting brain cancer
Drug company may pay for lifesaving chemotherapy
LEE COUNTY - A possible lifeline for a Southwest Florida woman fighting a deadly disease.
Dawn Beagles was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer last year. She recently found out that the price of the one drug that's keeping her alive has increased by two-thousand percent!
Now, after turning to Fox 4, she may finally be getting the help she needs. Four in your Corner's Mike Mason is here now with more.
We found there are thousands of people throughout the country facing the same problem, they can't afford the drug Temodar. But one cancer survivor found a way to cut through the red tape and now Dawn may have a second lease on life.
When 33 year old Dawn Beagles found out she couldn't afford the one drug keeping her alive....she was desperate.
Dawn Beagles: "It's hard enough being sick but when you're basically having to fight to get a lifesaving drug, it's all that more difficult."
When Dawn was first diagnosed with terminal brain cancer 10 years ago, the chemo drug Temodar saved her life. It killed her cancerous cells within one year.
But last October the cancer came back. At the time her copayment was only $30 a month but then on January first it shot up to $660 a month and now she simply can't afford it. After watching our report, Todd Duffy contacted Fox 4.
Todd Duffy: "When I had seen the story and I talked to my father I said ‘anything we can do to help her’."
Todd's father, Michael, was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer 7 years ago. At the time the doctor only gave him months to live.
Michael Duffy: "He said it was done, he said I can't help you anymore."
When Michael was first prescribed Temodar his insurance company wouldn't cover the cost either and at $800 per pill his chances of survival seemed slim.
Mike Mason: "So this Temodar is really important."
Michael Duffy: "Oh my God, I couldn't do anything without it."
Despite the cost, Todd refused to watch his father die. After fighting with insurance and Medicare he found a solution. The company that manufactures Temodar - Merck - has developed a program to provide the drug free of charge to those who qualify, based upon the patient's insurance coverage and finances. We contacted Merck and found Dawn should qualify based upon her income.
Dawn Beagles: "I think that would be great."
Dawn hopes she'll no longer have to worry about raising money for her medication and can now focus on raising her son instead.
Dawn Beagles: "I've gone through this once before and....."
Merck tells us this is a nationwide problem as more insurance companies have begun refusing to cover Temodar. Dawn will now have to submit an application to see if Merck will pay for her chemo drugs - we'll let you know how it all turns out.