High Cost Of Cancer Medication Affects Patients And The Doctors Who Care For Them


A recent article from Forbes discusses a 60 Minutes segment about the high cost of cancer medication.

The segment interviews two cancer doctors who refused to pay a higher price for a colon cancer medication when there was a much cheaper alternative available that had the same success rate and side effects.

The makers of the higher priced medication lowered its price as a result of the doctors’ backlash.

One important revelation of the segment is the fact that Medicare cannot negotiate the price of drugs with pharmaceutical companies. Medicare “has to pay for $100,000 cancer drugs sight unseen after they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which doesn’t consider cost.”

The segment gives CML medication Gleevec as an example of the ability of pharmaceutical company’s to price medications based on their own impulses—when it was first released, it only costs $24,000 a year, but now the price has raised to $90,000 dollars a year.

One reason for the ability of pharmaceutical companies to raise prices so high is “that our fragmented insurance system has not until now provided any counterweight to companies who want to raise prices.” If providers and insurance companies were to engage in a dialogue with pharmaceutical companies over the price of medications, they might be able to negotiate the costs down.

Summary by MedicalGroups.com

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