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Leading leukemia experts: High leukemia treatment costs may be harming patients
Date:4/25/2013

(WASHINGTON, April 25, 2013) The increasing cost of treatments for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in the United States has reached unsustainably high levels and may be leaving many patients under- or untreated because they cannot afford care, according to a Blood Forum article supported by nearly 120 CML experts from more than 15 countries on five continents and published online today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology (ASH). Blood Forum articles are a new feature in the journal that present well documented opinions on controversial topics and provide a sounding board for current subjects of importance to the science and practice of hematology.

CML was selected as the focus of the piece because it is now considered a highly curable disease, thanks to the emergence of powerful, targeted CML therapies known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) that allow patients to manage their disease with few symptoms by taking a well-tolerated pill. Since the introduction of TKI therapy more than a decade ago, the annual mortality of patients with this disease has declined from 10 to 20 percent in the early 2000s to just 2 percent today and the estimated 10-year survival of CML patients has increased from 20 percent to more than 80 percent. Patients with CML, who were once told at diagnosis that they had a grim prognosis, are now enjoying close to normal life spans as long as they receive and adhere to prescribed treatments. The management of CML has become similar to that of chronic disorders such as diabetes and hypertension, yet a key difference remains in the extremely high cost of CML drugs.

"Patients with CML have a much better outlook today than ever before, than
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Contact: Andrea Slesinski
aslesinski@hematology.org
202-552-4927
American Society of Hematology
Source:Eurekalert

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