Friday, July 12, 2013

Spiraling cancer costs

I find the costs of all medical care, particularly end of life care and cancer care, to be increasing exponentially. Researchers come up with new medications based on smaller and smaller groups of patients. Drug manufacturers charge more and more in an effort to 'recoup' their research costs.

Doctors understand this financial burden and are more and more beginning to take action and have discussions on this. I found this article very interesting and worth the read or the view (both in video and text).

One point that they made is that new drugs may help 20% of a population but if all are treated with the drug in an effort to reach the 20%, wouldn't it make more sense to figure out how to treat just the 20% instead of wasting the treatment essentially on patients who would not benefit and would suffer the side effects?

Another point is follow up PET scans for cancer patients. If these expensive tests are reduced, we can save millions. Or follow up for other post cancer patients, find ways to get the same quality of life at a lower overall cost.

In another article, ASCO members highlight the Top Five List Identifies Opportunities to Improve Quality and Value in Cancer Care. They make recommendations on reducing some testing and some treatments. I think we have a tendency with cancer to throw everything we can at it but are learning that more isn't always better.

So it looks like doctors are taking action on how to help reduce the costs. Now we need to get other parts of the medical care system to do the same.

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