When cancer strikes, the battle suddenly gives between the patients’ life and money. In order to reduce the strikingly high cost of cancer drugs, an extensive panel of leading cancer experts has come up with a list of adjustments.
There are 118 experts who have joined their efforts to support a patient protest designed to put pressure on drug companies so they will charge a fairer value for chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
Even former presidents of the American Society of Hematology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology have lent their support and encouragement for the efforts that will change the nature of the battle that starts when cancer gets in life’s equation.
Leading author of the article that appeared in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings Dr. Ayalew Tefferi, who is also the hematologist at the Mayo Clinic, said that it was about time patients and doctors alike will get the ball rolling.
Current cancer treatment prices for an insured cancer patient are so high that even if the patient survives the disease and enters remission, debt often expects him afterwards. According to Tefferi, the patient usually ends up paying annually a quarter of the drugs – and that’s out of his own pocket.
Among other recommendations on the list, the expert panel has also requested a special regulatory body that will be responsible with setting fair prices after cancer drugs receive the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Tefferi explained that the body would be made up of representatives of all parties included: patients, disease experts, drug company agents, Medicare functionaries and some other major insurers.
Other suggestions refer to cancer specialist groups who often recommend way too expensive treatment, usually more than the patient can afford, even with insurance. The panel urged them to direct their patients to cheaper forms of treatment, where the nature of the disease allows it.
Listing all these proposals is one of the latest efforts that cancer doctors have put up in order to raise awareness of irrationally high prices that cancer treatments usually have.
According to doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, cancer drugs’ prices should reflect their side effects and benefits in extending the patient’s life, so they designed DrugAbacus, a calculator that uses these parameters to adjust the price of more than 50 cancer drugs.
The panel also requested that the U.S. government should allow cancer drugs to be imported from countries where the treatment is cheaper, such as Canada, in addition to a much-needed reform in patent laws that will make it more difficult for drug companies to advertise brand drugs in detriment of the generic ones.
Image Source: Cancer: Signs and Cures