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Cancer Specialists Call For More Sensible Drug Pricing

04/29/13

  03:56:15 pm, by MedBen5   , 246 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Cancer Specialists Call For More Sensible Drug Pricing

Some influential cancer specialists have had it up to here with the high cost of prescription drugs, and have banded together to make their case to pharmaceutical companies, The New York Times reports.

In a commentary published in the journal of the American Society of Hematology, the specialists accuse drug companies of making excessive profits on lifesaving cancer drugs – some of which can cost more than $100,000 per year. “Advocating for lower drug prices is a necessity to save the lives of patients” who cannot afford the medicines, they wrote.

The coalition of over 100 doctors and researchers specialize in the potentially deadly blood cancer known as chronic myeloid leukemia. In the article, they note that Gleevec, a drug used to treat the cancer, costs $90.000 a year in the United States – triple the price since it was introduced in 2001.

“If you are making $3 billion a year on Gleevec, could you get by with $2 billion?” asked Dr. Brian Druker, director of the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health and Science University in an interview.

Novartis argues that few patients actually pay the full cost of the drug and that prices reflect the high cost of research and the value of a drug to patients.

The authors hope that their actions will start a dialogue on more sensible drug pricing. Novartis responded in a statement: “We recognize that sustainability of health care systems is a complex topic and we welcome the opportunity to be part of the dialogue.”

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