The High Price of New Cancer Drugs
January 23, 2012
Julie Grabow, an oncologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, recently prescribed an exciting new therapy for a 60-year-old woman with metastatic breast cancer. Three-and-a-half years into her battle against the disease, the patient had already exhausted three different anti-estrogen therapies, each of which only put a temporary check on the spreading tumors.
The newly prescribed drug, Novartis’ Afinitor, is one of the recently approved targeted therapies that have generated a lot of excitement among cancer patients and oncologists in recent years. Drugs that target just the cancer cells promise the same or better results as toxic chemotherapy, but with far fewer side effects.
There was a catch, though. Like many of the latest cancer drugs, Novartis is charging exorbitant amounts for the treatment – in this case, $10,000 per month. Read more