Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Lets talk about drugs and their pricing

There is new talk about looking more at drug pricing. This also applies to other drug pricing.

Okay, here's the discussion. If drug A costs $1000/patient per month and drug B costs $300/patient per month, drug A is obviously much more expensive than drug B. But if B doesn't work quite as well as A, there is a problem. Because if B results in quality of life issues and hospitalizations and shorter survival rates, there will be additional expenses so the cost savings is not there any  more.

So now the proposal is that we must look at toxicity and efficacy. This means that we need to look at issues such as quality of life, hospitalizations, and survival rates.

I like this idea. If a less expensive drug has more adverse reactions, is it better to go with the more expensive one? I think that depends on the side effects. For example, I have two rheumatoid medications. One of them causes me to have a suppressed immune system and I end up with a bad cold that lasts a week or two, every couple of months. But the other one can cause nausea (my favorite) and is harder on my liver, and may not keep my RA suppressed as much.

So I have to decide which is better for me. Lots of colds which cause lost income etc or bits of nausea, potential liver issues, and RA pain.

I am still on the fence about this one.

And the same applies for breast cancer treatment with Tamoxifen. This is the baseline drug for preventing recurrence. But if the side effects are too much and end up affecting the patient's quality of life, is it better to switch a newer, more expensive alternative?

But others are promoting more discussion on this topic.

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