In an article directed against big pharmaceutical companies which are basically dictating market prices, the cancer specialists are urging them to lower prices for some drugs which have gone up by a whopping $8,500 per year since 2000.
The doctors are protesting prohibitive prices due to the fact that they disrupt treatment and overall care of cancer patients who cannot afford them, leading many to seek costly loans which add to their financial burdens and stress factors. According to data presented in the article, the average $52,000 per year household income in the U.S. wouldn’t be enough to cover even half the costs of particularly pricy treatments, which have drugs costing $120,000 per year in addition to other treatment-related expenses.
And these prices apply for patients who are insured. The 118 cancer specialists called in the article for the ability to negotiate Medicare-related drugs directly with big pharma companies. However, they have been slammed by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing Association (PhRMA), which claims that this will send a signal against research risk-taking and innovation.
“The article ignores the fact that cancer medicines represent only one-fifth of total spending on cancer treatment,” PhRMA spokesman Robert Zirkelbach said. “The policy proposals they recommend would send a chilling signal to the marketplace that risk-taking will no longer be rewarded, stopping innovation in its tracks and halting decades of progress in cancer care.”
Concerns about rapidly rising prices of cancer drugs are not new, as a similar 2013 article signed by over 100 leukemia experts into the issue of treatment costs of the deadly chronic myeloid leukemia raised attention over the fact that the pricing prohibits many low-income patients from following the best possible treatments, calling for lower prices.
The average cost of cancer drugs per month is currently situated at about $10,000, about one fifth of the U.S. average household income. The increasingly high costs of cancer treatments have led to cases of doctors shamming patients in the last few years, with two notorious cases on trial in the last month. Notoriously, a Detroit-based oncologist administered unnecessary chemotherapy to falsely diagnosed patients over the course of six years, earning millions in Medicare funding despite ruining the lives of healthy people, being convicted to 42 years in jail.
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