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Implementation of ipilimumab therapy in a private practice oncology group: overcoming start-up and reimbursement issues related to expensive new cancer drugs


 

The monoclonal antibody ipilimumab was the first treatment in more than 30 years to improve long-term survival in metastatic melanoma patients. Offering expensive ipilimumab treatment presented significant business challenges and potential financial risks for our private oncology practice and for patients because of the high acquisition cost of this agent. There was initial uncertainty about the willingness of insurance companies to reimburse for this new drug based on previous experiences in our practice with other expensive new drugs. Here we describe how our multiphysician practice methodically introduced ipilimumab treatment into the practice.

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