Soaring Drug Prices – A Major Problem towards Cancer Cure

The rising cost of cancer cure in the form of increased costs of new cancer drugs, reduced reimbursement by insurance plans and recent research indicating that cheaper generic drugs can work well or better than the expensive brand name medications is changing the stance of some top oncologists. Physicians are of the view that the cost of the drug is important especially in cases where high quality can be obtained at lower costs.

Oncologists in the United States are attempting to come to terms with enormous expense of cancer drugs that can cost up to $100,000 per annum per patient. It is estimated that the U.S. spending on oncology drugs and their administration is expected to rise by more than 20% annually for the next few years and may reach $173 billion by 2020.Drug makers meanwhile stress that their products despite of high price labels saves costs by reducing the need for supportive medications or even keeping the patients out of the hospital.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology –ASCO- consisting of special task force has recently issued a Guidance Statement on the Cost of Care, that advices the oncologists to speak to their patients about the cost of the treatment. The task force is trying to address the rising costs of cancer care and the way it is affecting the practice of quality medicine and wellbeing of the patient.The ASCO meeting represents a major forum for publishing and presenting the research on new cancer treatment discoveries for drugs with annual price tags that runs in tens of thousands of dollars.

Another ASCO featured study revealed that surprisingly a high proportion of twenty percent of late stage patients went without treatment between2000 and 2008 due to certain factors that included lower income, older age, race and lack of medical insurance. Other studies drew attention towards the enormous rise in the treatment costs and an increased risk of bankruptcy for people diagnosed with cancer.

Research carried on by Dr. Thomas Smith of John Hopkins Medicine, concluded that the practice patterns needs to be changed by partly using less expensive drugs and test and going in for more alleviative care, so that the system is still able to pay for new expensive advances. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, spending on prescription drugs accounts for just ten percent of total U.S. health expenditure even though the costs more than doubled from 2000 to 2010.

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