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

ks to advances that have greatly improved survival rates. But these patients now face dire financial struggles as they try to maintain their treatment regimen with the drastically inflating cost of care. And this issue likely extends to patients with other types of cancer who require ongoing treatment to maintain therapeutic benefit," said corresponding author Hagop Kantarjian, MD, chairman of the leukemia department at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

In the Blood Forum article, Dr. Kantarjian and colleagues note that newly approved CML treatments in the U.S. are priced substantially higher than older options, and the trend is consistent among other cancer types. For example, of the 12 drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for various cancer indications in 2012, 11 were priced above $100,000 per yeari. Monthly cancer drug prices today (more than $10,000 per month on average) have almost doubled from just a decade ago, when they averaged $5,000 per month. The overall cost burden on families is significant, as out-of-pocket cancer care-related costs comprise approximately 25-30% of an average annual household budget. Cancer care-related costs contribute heavily to the unprecedented cost of health care in the U.S., now estimated at 18 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, compared with just 6-9% in much of Europe.ii

"A major question we need to answer is how to determine the 'right' price for these drugs. In many cases, it makes sense to let the market govern the price; however, when a product is directly related to a patient's survival over a period of years, it is critical to set a price that allows companies to profit and ensures that patients can afford their treatment," said Dr. Kantarjian. "Since CML treatments must be taken on an ongoing basis, we are concerned that the surging prices are potentially harming patients."

Research suggests that up to 10 percent of
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Contact: Andrea Slesinski
aslesinski@hematology.org
202-552-4927
American Society of Hematology
Source:Eurekalert

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