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Leading Leukemia Experts: High Leukemia Treatment Costs May Be Harming Patients
Date:4/25/2013

tients."

Research suggests that up to 10 percent of patients in the U.S. fail to take prescribed drugs, largely because of cost concerns.[iii] And while U.S. CML survival rates have improved in the last decade, the estimated survival remains at roughly 60 percent, suggesting that a portion of the population is not receiving adequate treatment, which may be related in part to the high cost of these therapies. By comparison, in Sweden, where costs are managed and compliance rates are high, CML survival rates are at least 80 percent.[iv]

"We believe that lowering the prices of CML drugs might improve accessibility to treatment and increase treatment adherence, effectively expanding the population of patients who live longer by continuing their TKI therapy," said Dr. Kantarjian.

The authors advise that advancing a long-term solution for the high price of these drugs will require the participation of and collaboration among many invested parties, including treating physicians, patients, advocacy groups, and pharmaceutical companies, as well as government entities, insurance companies, and pharmacies. Collaborations will require agreement from a cooperative group on how best to manage the research process to control treatment costs, how the community can balance those investments, and how newly approved products are priced in the market; similar to established processes in other countries around the world.

"Identifying better ways to manage the cost of cancer care will require an evolution in thinking about current pricing-related policies and regulations, including those that limit price negotiation for Medicare coverage of treatments, as well as patent-related laws that limit the introduction of more affordable generic drugs," said Dr. Kantarjian.

Blood (www.bloodjournal.org), the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field of hematology, is available w
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SOURCE American Society of Hematology
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