Cure for cancer don’t get no respect no more
Actually it would. The problem is that companies are charging very high prices for drugs with fairly marginal benefits. The USA Today’s top story isn’t about terrorism, gas prices, or the All Star game –it’s about high prices for cancer drugs. In case the headline Prices soar for cancer drugs isn’t clear enough, there’s a little table showing that 10 years ago drugs for advanced colorectal cancer cost $500 and the expected survival period was 11 months. Now the cost of drugs is up to $250,000 and survival is 24 months. That’s about $20,000 per month –more than society is willing to pay.
Although some companies like Roche are not embarrassed by the high price of such drugs, other companies may decide to be a bit more conservative. There really is room in the market to charge tens or hundreds of thousands for drugs that work really well. And the numbers cited above are just averages. Certain people are living a lot longer because of new drugs that don’t work for others.
But industry needs to think of a smarter way to price, like charging a high price but refunding most of it for patients who don’t respond well.July 11, 2006