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Amgen Offers Financial Help

The company will cap out-of-pocket copayments for cancer patients taking Vectibix.

Biotech giant


(AMGN) - Get Amgen Inc. Report

has introduced a financial-assistance program capping out-of-pocket copayments for cancer patients taking its drug Vectibix.

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In addition to pricing the drug 20% below other anticancer antibodies on the market, the Amgen Oncology Assistance program will provide help for patients who are uninsured, underinsured, or unable to afford their insurance copayments.

"We recognize that treating cancer is expensive and our industry needs to find new ways to ease the financial burden on cancer patients, their families and society. Our goal is to create the most comprehensive oncology access program in the industry," said Kevin Sharer, Amgen's chairman and CEO.

According to the program, Vectibix co-payments will be capped at 5% of a patient's adjusted gross income in the U.S., regardless of their insurance status. Once a patient reaches the cap, he or she could be eligible for a program that provides the drugs at no cost to patients with household incomes of up to $75,000 a year.

Vectibix received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday. The drug is intended to treat colorectal cancer.

The company said it also plans to donate millions of dollars to independent third-party patient-assistance programs to help uninsured or low-income patients.