Pric­ing trend for can­cer drugs just isn’t sus­tain­able

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

Re­gard­ing the ar­ti­cle “Will the cost of can­cer drugs break the econ­omy?” (ModernHealth­, March 14), this is not a new ques­tion, since in the early 2000s the New Eng­land Jour­nal of Medicine pub­lished an ar­ti­cle show­ing the very min­i­mal im­prove­ment in longevity vs. the ex­ces­sive pric­ing of new can­cer drugs.

Cur­rently, pa­tients and their in­sur­ance com­pa­nies lose be­cause there’s no free mar­ket to check and bal­ance pric­ing vs. value. It’s all about “Big Pharma” push­ing prof­i­teer­ing with­out bound­aries. As well, to what ex­tent are a se­lect group of com­mu­nity on­col­o­gists obliv­i­ous to this point, given the higher profit they de­rive from the costlier drugs?

Given the co­hort of ag­ing baby boomers, watch how the ex­ces­sive pric­ing of can­cer drugs even­tu­ally leads to a form of sin­gle-payer, given how no­body will be able to af­ford their Medi­care Part D and every­body de­mands the lat­est mir­a­cle drug with­out con­sciously think­ing about the cost and its ef­fi­cacy. Iron­i­cally, although Big Pharma’s mar­ket­ing prow­ess has en­cour­aged such pa­tient de­mands, it will even­tu­ally be pharma’s down­fall, as more pa­tients won’t be able to af­ford these drugs. M.E. Singer


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