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Media Alert: WVU women’s health expert calls new drug for hot flashes life-changing, but fears only those with ‘golden’ insurance plans can afford it

Expert available for interviews and comments on Veozah — estimated at $550 for a 30-day supply

WV Press Release Sharing

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Veozah, a drug to treat hot flashes, one West Virginia University medical expert expects it to serve as a game changer in the quality of life for menopausal women.

However, Roberta Renzelli-Cain, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecologyWVU School of Medicine, cautions that the new drug may not be affordable or easily obtained by those on Medicare or Medicaid, or even the “average insurance company.”

Editor’s Note: West Virginia University experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics.  Search for an expert by name, title, areas of expertise or college/school/department in the Experts Database at WVUToday.

Roberta Renzelli-Cain, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, WVU School of Medicine:

“The cost of Veozah is estimated to be around $550 for a 30-day supply. Typically, when a new drug comes to market, the pharmaceutical company will have discount coupons for patient use with commercial insurance plans. However, these coupons typically cannot be used by patients who have drug coverage through Medicare or Medicaid. Hence many of our patients will not be eligible for Veozah.

“For some commercial insurance companies, even hormonal therapies that now come in a multitude of generic options are not covered whatsoever or are not included in a top tier of drug treatment options; therefore, I am not feeling optimistic about the average insurance company’s coverage of Veozah. Veozah will likely be covered for those who are fortunate enough to have the ‘golden policy.’ 

“There still seems to be a lack of understanding that for some women, this is not just a little flushing, sweating or one of life’s transitions that can be remedied with a fan. For many women, these symptoms alter one’s quality of life by causing sleep disruptions, chronic feelings of fatigue, missed work and loss of quality time with family and friends. This is a disease for many, and when we have insurance companies — not physicians — defining what’s a treatable disease, there is a larger problem.

“Veozah gives me hope. This drug has special implications for West Virginia women, as hormonal therapy is no longer a treatment option for vasomotor symptoms once a woman has been diagnosed with heart disease. However, hormone therapy if prescribed in the right patient during the appropriate therapeutic window may prevent heart disease. Given that our state consistently ranks among the bottom 10 in the union for heart disease, Veozah has special implications here at home.” 

MEDIA CONTACT: Jake Stump, Director, WVU Research Communications
304-293-5507; [email protected]

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