The Lancet recently published an editorial “Paying a high price for cancer” bringing attention of their readers to a large problem of growing cost of cancer therapies as discussed in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings commentary and co-signed by 118 US cancer physicians. There was a 5-10 fold increase in new cancer drugs prices during the past 15 years. For example the cost of a cancer drug that was approved in 2014 exceeds $120,000 per year of use. A post approval pricing review by Medicare which may include negotiating drug prices and importing drugs from neighboring countries are two possible suggested solutions to reduce the cost of cancer drugs. Moreover, a recently published research from Oxford, UK showed positive results for the use of widely available, inexpensive class of medications for the treatment of early breast cancer in postmenopausal women that could reduce disease recurrence and mortality. The WHO updated its’ list of “Essential Medicines” to include 16 new cancer drugs such as the costly imatinib, however the high cost of such essential drugs is an obstacle that restricts health systems from providing hope to their cancer patients. What are your thoughts about this dilemma? How often do you dispense the costly cancer treatments?
For additional information please see The Lancet.
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