Lifesaving drugs 'out of reach' for many
Georgia Health News
September 12, 2011
By Andy Miller
Seven years ago, Ed Levitt received what he considered a death sentence.
He was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. For a nonsmoker who had seemed “fit as a fiddle,’’ the diagnosis came as a shock.
He had worked for a Fortune 500 company, and he believes the chemicals involved in his work led to his lung cancer.
Levitt, of Acworth, began taking a drug called Iressa, a so-called “biologic’’ drug. Biologics are complex mixtures made from living organisms. Unlike other drugs, they are not chemically synthesized.
The good news for Levitt was that the drug therapy shrank the tumors in his body, so that his lung cancer is under control for now.
The bad news was the price. Iressa cost him about $500 a month under his former company’s retiree health plan. The drug, he said, “is like a Ferrari – a beautiful car, but out of my reach” financially. Read more