Exploiting Cancer Patients With $10,000-a-Month Drugs
July 29, 2006
Prices for new cancer therapies have increased to up to $10,000 a month for a single drug, causing dismay among patients and insurance companies alike.
Cancer drug costs rose nearly 16 percent last year, while other prescription drugs averaged a 3 percent price increase. Avastin, which is used to treat colorectal cancer, currently sells for $50,000, and that price could jump to $100,000 if Avastin is also approved to treat breast and lung cancers.
What's more, these expensive medications often only give patients a few more months of life, making many question whether or not the price tag is worth it. Erbitux costs nearly $10,000 a month, but no studies have shown that it even helps colorectal cancer patients live longer.
The bulk of the cost of these drugs is often handed off to taxpayers, since many cancer patients are covered by Medicare. However, many patients must pay at least part of the costs, and some are turning down care because they cannot afford the expense.