The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the U.S. agency in charge of Medicare, announced yesterday that it has scheduled a meeting to discuss the coverage of Dendreon’s prostate cancer vaccine Provenge. The meeting has been scheduled for this November 17.

There had been a lot of confusion and distress surrounding the willingness of CMS to cover the $93,000 price tag that has been attached to obtaining the three infusions of Provenge.

In June, CMS announced that it was opening an assessment to determine a national coverage decision of Provenge, which received FDA approval earlier this year as a treatment for advanced prostate cancer.

According to sources at Dendreon, 14 of the 15 regional Medicare carriers are either already reimbursing patients for Provenge or have signaled their intention to do so. However, there has been a lot of men who have been complaining that the have not been able to get a commitment from their regional carrier to cover the treatment.

Hopefully, this meeting will finally put this question to bed once and for all.

Joel T Nowak, M.A., M.S.W.