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Author Topic: 'HIV-style campaign' to cut cancer drug prices  (Read 3844 times)

Offline smfadmin (OP)

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'HIV-style campaign' to cut cancer drug prices
« on: July 27, 2015, 09:17:37 PM »
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/297221.php

'HIV-style campaign' to cut cancer drug prices

More than 100 leading cancer experts in the US have written a joint commentary that states cancer drug prices are unsustainable, issuing an action plan for the problem, including starting a movement like the one that improved access to HIV drugs.

Drug costs have risen four-fold for cancer patients.

For each extra year of life given by cancer drugs, the financial cost for individuals averaged $207,000 in 2013 - up from the $54,000 in 1995 (inflation-adjusted prices), say the authors of the paper in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Part of the doctors' support for a "patient-based grassroots movement demanding action on the issue" has been to set up a petition at change.org, which to date has over 6,000 supporters signed up. There is also a "Stop High Drug Costs" group on Facebook.

Lead author of the statement Dr. Ayalew Tefferi, a hematologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, says:
"High cancer drug prices are affecting the care of patients with cancer and our health care system. The average gross household income in the US is about $52,000 per year," adding:

"For an insured patient with cancer who needs a drug that costs $120,000 per year, the out-of-pocket expenses could be as much as $25,000 to $30,000 - more than half their average household income."

Dr. Tefferi continues: "When you consider that cancer will affect 1 in 3 individuals over their lifetime, and [with] recent trends in insurance coverage [that] put a heavy financial burden on patients with out-of-pocket expenses, you quickly see that the situation is not sustainable. It's time for patients and their physicians to call for change."

Action plan

Added to the protest ideas, the statement lists a number of other action points, including allowing Medicare to negotiate cancer drug prices, and allowing the importation of cancer drugs for personal use across borders. They cite the example of Canada offering prices around half of those in the US.

Legislation is also called for that would curb the pharmaceutical industry:

Stopping drug companies from paying to delay the introduction of generic drugs
Halting patent "evergreening" - reforming the patent system against unnecessarily prolonged drug exclusivity.
Finally, the group of cancer advocates recommends measures to control pricing through regulations and guidelines:

Create a drug approval review mechanism to propose a fair price for new treatments
Allow the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, created through the Affordable Care Act, to evaluate the benefits of new treatments
Encourage organizations that represent cancer specialists and patients to consider the overall value of drugs and treatments in formulating treatment guidelines.
Writing about the patient-based, grass-roots movement, the authors say:

"With proper support of these grass-roots efforts and proper use of that support downstream, it should be possible to focus the attention of pharmaceutical companies on this problem and to encourage our elected representatives to more effectively advocate for the interests of their most important constituents among the stakeholders in cancer - American cancer patients."

Written by Markus MacGill
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measure twice, cut once

Offline candy

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Re: 'HIV-style campaign' to cut cancer drug prices
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2015, 10:20:14 AM »
Great article.
I don't believe the pharmaceutical companies are going to change the way they do things in the near future.
Yes, pharmaceutical companies rely on doctors to prescribe their drugs and for cancer patients it should not be a fight or wait to get proper treatment, but it is.

If these cancer experts can start something that leads to changes in the price of these drugs for treatment, it will help so many people who are struggling to get care that they can afford.
It sickens me that someone who is fighting cancer has to worry about being able to afford treatment.
It was not only doctors that helped in the movement to improve access to HIV drugs, it was those who had HIV. If it were not for their effort, there would not have been any changes in the cost of HIV meds.

Let's hope that change will happen.
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Harm Reduction...
Enables choices, possibilities, and opportunities without imposing change.

Offline Narkotikon

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Re: 'HIV-style campaign' to cut cancer drug prices
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2015, 01:10:34 PM »
Capitalism in medicine / healthcare sickens me.  Companies shouldn't be profiting off people's illnesses, pain, suffering, and anxiety over being sick.  Despite what Republicans say, capitalism in this sense doesn't lower prices.  The only thing companies are concerned with is profits. 

Regarding the stop of amending patents when a drug is reformulated or modified, I think that's an excellent idea.  Case in point: Suboxone.

When Suboxone came out in 2003, Reckitt Benckiser simply combined two older drugs to make a new combination.  Buprenorphine came out in the late 80's, and naloxone has been around even longer.  RB made tons of money by marketing its drug to doctors and suffering addicts.

What's even more sickening is when their patent ran out in 2010/11, they reformulated it into a film, thereby gaining more time to rake in profits.  They also added a little red and white, candy cane safety warning strip to the medication's box, and claimed it was "safer" now b/c it was less abuseable. 

They basically bullied and scared doctors, whereby some doctors will now only prescribe the brand name, more expensive film, even though there's a cheaper generic Suboxone on the market in the old tablet form.

What's funny about that is that in other countries, I've heard that the only brand form is still the tablets.  So I guess safety is only a priority for Americans, and other nationalities are safe enough with the tablets?  Come on.  It's clearly about profits.   ::)

I don't think RB should have warranted a new patent, and I certainly don't think they should have persuaded doctors to only prescribe their formulation simply because it's "safer." 

And really, it's not.  You can still inject and snort the film, just like the tablet.  Hell, the film even dissolves better than the tablets, thereby making it easier to inject.   
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