Navigation Links
How much is life worth? The $440 billion question
Date:7/3/2009

The decision to use expensive cancer therapies that typically produce only a relatively short extension of survival is a serious ethical dilemma in the U.S. that needs to be addressed by the oncology community, according to a commentary published online June 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Tito Fojo, M.D., Ph.D., of the Medical Oncology Branch, Center of Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute, in Bethesda, Md., and Christine Grady, Ph.D., of the Department of Bioethics, the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health, tackle the controversy concerning the life-extending benefits of certain cancer drugs and the extent to which their cost should factor in deliberations.

The authors illustrate cost-benefit relationships for several cancer drugs, including cetuximab for treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, touted as "practice changing" and new standards of care by professional societies, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

They ask, "Is an additional 1.7 months [the additional overall survival for colorectal cancer patients treated with cetuximab] a benefit regardless of costs and side effects?"

According to Fojo and Grady, in the U.S., 18 weeks of cetuximab treatment for non-small cell lung cancer, which was found to extend life by 1.2 months, costs an average of $80,000, which translates into an expenditure of $800,000 to prolong the life of one patient by 1 year. At this rate, it would cost $440 billion annually, an amount 100 times NCI's budget, to extend the lives of 550,000 Americans who die of cancer annually by 1 year.

To address the issue, the commentators recommend that studies powered to detect a survival advantage of two months or less should test only interventions that can be marketed at a cost of less than $20,000 for a course of treatment.

Every life is of infinite value, the authors say, but spiraling costs of cancer care makes this dilemma inescapable.

"The current situation cannot continue. We cannot ignore the cumulative costs of the tests and treatments we recommend and prescribe. As the agents of change, professional societies, including their academic and practicing oncologist members, must lead the way," the authors write. "The time to start is now."


'/>"/>

Contact: Steve Graff
jncimedia@oxfordjournals.org
301-841-1285
Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Boston Scientific Amends Credit Facility and Prepays $1 Billion on Loan
2. Medco Announces Agreement to Acquire Diabetes Care Leader PolyMedica in Transaction Valued at $1.5 Billion
3. Biogenerics Will Save Billions, Says Hospira CEO
4. Touching 418 Billion Lives, Hepatitis Still Presents Significant Threat to Global Health
5. Wyeth Announces $5 Billion Share Repurchase Program; Declares Increase in Common Stock Dividend
6. Entry of Biogenerics and Decreasing Use of Amgens Epogen and Johnson & Johnsons Procrit Will Cause a $2.8 Billion Decline in the Drug Market for Chemotherapy-Induced Anemia by 2016
7. Surgical and Trauma Wound Care Market to Tie Up $7 Billion in Sales by 2011
8. Foamix Signs Term Sheet to Acquire License to Organo-Boron Antifungal Molecules - Will Target the $11 Billion Dollars Fungal Infection Market
9. Study by Leading Economist Identifies Potential for $378 Billion of Savings From Follow On Biologics
10. Sigma-Aldrich (Nasdaq: SIAL) Annual Sales Surpass $2 Billion Mark.
11. Medco Issues $1.5 Billion of Senior Notes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/27/2017)... , March 27, 2017 Neurotrope, Inc. ... therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer,s disease, today ... application to list the Company,s common stock on ... The NASDAQ Stock Market, a unit of the ... will ring the Opening Bell at the NASDAQ ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... , March 24, 2017 ... the trading session at 5,817.69, down 0.07%; the Dow ... 20,656.58; and the S&P 500 closed at 2,345.96, marginally ... 4 sectors closed in green, 4 sectors finished in ... This Friday, Stock-Callers.com has initiated reports coverage on the ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the ... to their offering. ... The Global Market for Bioproducts Should Reach ... a CAGR of 8.9%, This research report ... seven major product segments: bio-derived chemicals, biofuels, pharmaceuticals (biodrugs and ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... Ellen ... the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) as a 2017 Women of Innovation® finalist. Matloff ... of Innovation Awards Dinner. , The dinner recognizes women accomplished in science, technology, ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/22/2017)... March 21, 2017 Optimove , ... by retailers such as 1-800-Flowers and AdoreMe, today ... Recommendations and Replenishment. Using Optimove,s machine learning algorithms, ... product and replenishment recommendations to their customers based ... predictions of customer intent drawn from a complex ...
(Date:3/16/2017)... - Against identity fraud with DERMALOG solutions "Made in Germany "  ... ... multi-biometric solutions provide a crucial contribution against identity fraud. (PRNewsFoto/Dermalog Identification Systems) ... Used combined in one project, multi-biometric solutions provide a crucial contribution against identity ... ...
(Date:3/7/2017)... Brandwatch , the leading social intelligence company, today announces that it ... insights to support its reporting, help direct future campaigns, and share ... charity will be using Brandwatch Analytics social listening and analytics technology ... the topics and issues that are a priority for its supporters. ... "Until recently we,ve ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):