Monday, July 27, 2015

Cancer Drug Costs

These prices are out of control. Upwards of $80,000 per patient per year or treatment protocol. Yes insurance companies pay the bulk of the costs but patients are hit with 20-30% out of pocket co-payments. Since the average family income in the US is $52,000, how are we supposed to pay for this? Can you only beat cancer if you are rich? That really creates a chasm between the 'haves' and 'have nots'. And the current insurance system cannot afford them either.

There is a new call by a group of doctors, oncologists, to get a better control of the pricing set by the drug manufacturers. This was announced in a recent issue of Proceedings published by the Mayo Clinic. It was also written about in Time Magazine and there is a petition on

They offer a substantive set of arguments for the pricing changes that are definitely worth the read. They also discuss the high costs of developing drugs that are borne by the manufacturers and how that should be changed as well. They are not just firing at the drug manufacturers but providing multiple recommendations:

"Among the recommendations are allowing Medicare to negotiate prices, permitting cancer drug imports for individual patients, and passing laws to keep drug companies from delaying access to generic drugs."

My only complaint on this issue is that they focus on cancer drugs and not on the other high priced drugs out there. In my opinion, the changes should effect all drugs.

Please go read the articles and sign the petition.

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