The medical community is finally speaking out about exorbitant cancer drug
prices that often force patents to choose between paying for treatment
and paying their mortgages. As highlighted in a recent report, the out-of-pocket
costs for patients with insurance can often cost tens of thousands of dollars.
While new treatments are providing hope for cancer patients who may have
faced a death sentence several years ago, the cost of those medications
is skyrocketing. As
The Wall Street Journal, the average price of new cancer drugs in the U.S. increased five- to
tenfold over 15 years, reaching more than $100,000 a year in 2012. When
a patient requires a combination of several drugs, the annual cost can
Patients “have to make difficult choices between spending their incomes
[and liquidating assets] on potentially lifesaving therapies or forgoing
treatment to provide for family necessities,” the doctors write.
Due to the financial burden, the report estimates approximately 10 percent
to 20 percent of cancer patients don’t take their treatment as prescribed.
More than 100 oncologists signed on to the new report, which was published in
Mayo Clinic Proceedings. The doctors hail from some of the most renowned cancer hospitals in the
country, including the Mayo Clinic, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer
Center, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
While drug makers argue that the high prices are necessary to fund the
research and development (R&D) of new treatments, critics argue that
the pharmaceutical industry is simply charging what it thinks the market
will bear. “What we’re fighting is the greed. The greed and
the additional maneuvering that is being exercised after you’ve
already recouped what you’ve invested. There is no control, no regulation,”
Ayalew Tefferi, a hematologist at Mayo Clinic and a signator of the new
report, told the WSJ.
To address the soaring cost of cancer drugs, the oncologists call for greater
oversight over pharmaceutical companies, including the creation of a new
regulatory body that would help set prices once drugs win approval by
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Other proposed measures include
allowing patients to import medications from Canada, requiring greater
transparency by drug makers regarding their R&D costs, and allowing
Medicare to negotiate drug prices for seniors.
If you or someone you love has suffered from medical negligence, don’t
contacta San Diego personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.