Today I would like to share with you some thoughts on the topic of the costs of cancer treatments. It is the result of a moment on Saturday morning while, in the midst of listening to hurricane coverage on television, I was scanning the pages of my morning paper. There in the headlines was the comment that the Food and Drug Administration on Friday-presumably a bit later in the day, since the article was posted online at 8PM-approved a new drug called crizotinib (Xalkori®) for the treatment of lung cancer.
The news didn’t get much attention, likely because it was overwhelmed by the hurricane. But at any other time, I suspect it would have been all over the media since this drug in fact represents a breakthrough treatment for some patients with lung cancer (more on that later).
But as I read the rest of the story, I almost choked on my coffee when I saw the cost of the new treatment: $9600 a month for a medicine that consists of two pills a day. Now, to me in my world, that was news. Just off the top of my head, that seemed a pretty steep price … Continue reading →