I saved a link to a fascinating Bloomberg article from earlier this month about a backlash against rising drug prices. Here’s an excerpt:
Cancer Doctors Join Insurers in U.S. Drug-Cost Revolt
May 7, 2014
The backlash over surging drug prices is starting to take hold.
With the average cost of branded cancer drugs doubling over the past decade to about $10,000 per month in the U.S., doctors, insurers and politicians are all moving in different ways to pressure drugmakers on pricing.
Cancer doctors are in the process of creating a way to measure the value of the drugs they prescribe, the first step in a drive to give patients affordable options. Insurers are increasingly paying only a percentage of the cost of high-priced drugs, forcing drugmakers to step into the breach for consumers who can’t afford their products. Politicians, meanwhile, have begun asking drugmakers to explain the cost of their products.
“This is a moral imperative,” said Clifford Hudis, president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the nation’s largest group of cancer doctors. “I don’t think any of us want to look back and say we turned away and didn’t lead while this was happening.”
Global spending on cancer drugs alone rose 28 percent to $91 billion in 2013 from $71 billion in 2008, according to a report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, the group that also reported the monthly cost rise.
Those findings support a Bloomberg review of drug prices reported on May 1 that found dozens of medicines for ailments ranging from cancer to multiple sclerosis, diabetes and high cholesterol have doubled or more in price since late 2007. The Bloomberg review used data supplied by DRX, a Los Angeles-based company that provides drug comparison information.
Increases among cancer drugs come about in two ways, through price boosts on older cancer pills, as well as a rising ceiling for medicines newly on the market.
“We are looking at a drug pricing bubble,” said Leonard Saltz, chief of the gastrointestinal oncology service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, who in 2012 led a rebellion at his hospital against an expensive cancer drug, refusing to put it on the formulary because of its price. “At what point do we say this is more than society can afford?”
There’s much more:
I can’t complain; it costs over $20,000 a month for my current combination therapy. Expensive, but it’s working.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat