I have been writing a lot about the death of bone marrow cancer/multiple myeloma patient Geraldine Ferraro on MultipleMyelomaBlog.com.
Here is an excerpt from a very well written opinion piece I found on Forbes.com, by Matthew Herper, titled Geraldine Ferraro And The High Cost Of Cancer Drugs:
…On Friday, the day before Geraldine Ferraro died, Bristol-Myers Squibb received FDA approval for Yervoy, the first drug to extend survival in patients with the skin cancer melanoma in years. The price for four courses of treatment will be $120,000. Again, the company says it will help make sure patients can cover the cost. But there’s no cap for per-drug cost on the horizon. In fact, generics for many mass-market medical uses, like lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, or blood sugar, are so effective and cheap that high-priced, niche products are now the main moneymakers in the drug business. Some drugs for rare diseases costs several hundred thousand dollars a year.
We use the price of new drugs to convince drug companies and venture capitalists to carry the expense and risk of inventing new medicines and testing them in clinical trials. It can cost anywhere from tens of millions of dollars to more than a billion dollars to get a new medicine to market. How much society will pay does determine how many new medicines are invented, and for what diseases. Right now, we don’t really think deeply about these costs, about what kinds of medicines we want, or how much they should cost….
Profound. Just what we all needed–another seemingly impossible to solve challenge facing our children and grandchildren. How are we/they going to pay for the explosion of the cost of future medical advances?
My head hurts. Is it the expensive radiation treatment I am receiving daily for the tumor in my hip, or the pressure from another major problem which seems impossible to solve. I think I will just go back to bed. Feel good and keep smiling! Pat