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TRICARE To Cover NCI Prevention Trials

In a first for clinical trials, a major health plan has agreed to cover patient costs in cancer prevention trials supported by the National Cancer Institute. TRICARE, the Department of Defense health benefit program and one of the nation's largest health plans, will provide coverage for its 8.3 million beneficiaries to participate in NCI's prevention and early detection trials. TRICARE provides health coverage for dependents of active duty NIH employees in the Public Health Service.

NCI director Dr. Richard Klausner said the agreement would serve as a model for combining better access to health care with continued progress in cancer research. Dr. Sue Bailey, assistant secretary of defense (health affairs), joined Klausner in hailing the agreement, noting that it would give TRICARE beneficiaries access to some of the most promising advances in cancer research.

The new interagency agreement, which became effective June 21, represents an expansion of the DoD/NCI cancer clinical trials agreement instituted by the two agencies in 1996. That agreement covers phase II and phase III treatment trials. The new agreement extends coverage to prevention clinical trials such as the new, nationwide breast cancer prevention trial known as STAR (Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene). It also includes early detection trials such as the PLCO (Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Trial).

More information on trials covered under the DoD/NCI demonstration project is available from NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER and the DoD demonstration coordinator at 1-800-779-3060. Related Web sites are and

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