Saturday, December 13, 2014

Breakthroughs and costs

Several drug companies are poised to bring significant breakthroughs in cancer treatment. One woman is referenced as going from stage IV lung cancer, a deadly place to be, to being cancer free after several months of treatment.

And here's the but. Who can afford $100,000/patient/year/drug. And if the drugs are used in combination that number could be $300,000/patient/year. No one can afford that. And we can't ask the insurance companies to pay that much. They would be bankrupt - as well as all the patients.

Put it this way, ten  years of treatment is $1,000,000 per drug. So every ten years, a pharma company is a million dollars richer.

So what are we to do?

The world is changing. We are getting to a place where a cure for cancer is closer to a reality. However the pharma industry's business plans bring us expensive cures. While we need the cure for cancer, we need a new business model which allows for affordable treatments.

As the world changes, the industries concerned need to change as well. These industries are health insurance, pharma manufacturers, and individual patients. Yes we all need to change and adapt to the new world where a cure for cancer is a reality and not a dream


Kathryn said...

It absolutely is a huge amount of money, but to put it in context, my current stage iv breast cancer drug combination, which is newer but not cutting edge and pretty common for HR+ HER2- metastatic disease is billed at little over $9,000 a month, and over $10,000 with the monthly doctor and nurse charges.

We sure do need a cure and quality insurance (or more reform) for everyone. But in this crazy, crazy world of healthcare, $100,000 a year isn't that unusual. Which is really crazy!

Kathryn said...

Forgot to add the catch to those high costs: the insurance negotiated cost is about 1/3 of that, which raises some interesting questions about the true cost.

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