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U.S. Doctors Begin to Question High Cost of Cancer Medicines

U.S. Doctors Begin to Question High Cost of Cancer Medicines | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Cancer drug prices have risen dramatically since the early 2000s, especially in the U.S. Some doctors are beginning to balk at medications that, in some cases, can cost over $10,000 a month and often offer only marginal improvements in survival. Other drugs do produce dramatic increases in life expectancy, but accumulating expenses force patients to stop treatment. Several aspects of the U.S. drug market contribute to high prices, including long patent durations that shield drug makers from competition, and Medicare’s inability to negotiate better prices with drug makers. Health authorities in several other countries have started to refuse coverage for drugs that, in their estimation, do not offer enough benefit to warrant their high cost. Notably, cancer drug prices in those countries are significantly lower than in the U.S. In 2012, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center became the first major U.S. hospital to refuse offering a cancer drug–zif-aflibercept (Zaltrap)–due to price concerns.

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New York Magazine | Oct 20, 2013

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New York Magazine | Oct 20, 2013

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New York Magazine | Oct 20, 2013

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Oncologists Should Specialize to Provide the Best Care

Given a growing appreciation of the diversity in cancer diagnoses and the importance of individualized treatment, oncologists (cancer physicians) should focus on the specific cancer types they are most experienced in, argues Rebecca Bechhold. In a recent essay, the oncologist points out that it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with all of the many new cancer drugs and their various applications. Practitioners are also bound to be better versed in the management of conditions that they treat frequently. She encourages patients to seek out doctors who specialize in their cancer type, and physicians to be open with patients about which cancer types they have the most expertise in and which they are less familiar with.

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Cancer Network | Jun 30, 2013

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Cancer Network | Jun 30, 2013

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Cancer Network | Jun 30, 2013

Cancer Commons's curator insight, July 8, 2013 1:35 PM

Cancer Network | Jun 30, 2013

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U.S. Cancer Experts' Report Emphasizes Successes, Need for More Funding

U.S. Cancer Experts' Report Emphasizes Successes, Need for More Funding | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

The fight against cancer has made “amazing progress,” according to the annual progress report of the American Association for Cancer Research. Thanks to advances in cancer prevention and treatment, death rates from malignant cancers in the U.S. have fallen 24.5% for men and 15.8% for women since 1990, resulting in an estimated 1 million lives saved. However, the aging population will result in a sharp increase in the number of people living with cancer, both in the U.S. and worldwide. The report therefore argues for increased funding for cancer research. A special highlight in the report focuses on cancer immunology, which utilizes the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, and which has made significant advances in recent years.

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Los Angeles Times | Sep 17, 2013

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Los Angeles Times | Sep 17, 2013

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Los Angeles Times | Sep 17, 2013

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Open Letter Urges Administration to Provide Guidance to Protect Patient Access to Clinical Trials

Open Letter Urges Administration to Provide Guidance to Protect Patient Access to Clinical Trials | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Over 50 medical and advocacy organizations have jointly authored an open letter to the U.S. Administration calling for clear guidance to regulate the implementation of a statute protecting patient access to clinical trials. At present, only 6% of patients with severe chronic illness and fewer than 5% of cancer patients participate in clinical trials. This low participation rate hampers the progress of research necessary to develop much-needed new treatments. To promote and protect patient participation in clinical trials, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") contains a provision that mandates coverage of routine medical costs for people who participate in approved clinical trials. However, the details of implementing this provision are left up to the individual states, which may lead to uneven and unpredictable coverage. The letter points to a 2010 study showing that patients have been denied coverage of their clinical trial costs, even in states that already require such coverage. The letter signatories therefore call for federal guidelines for implementation to be issued before the provision goes into effect on January 1, 2014.

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ASCO in Action | June 18, 2013

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ASCO in Action | Jun 18, 2013

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ASCO in Action | June 18, 2013

Cancer Commons's curator insight, June 20, 2013 2:51 PM

ASCO in Action | June 18, 2013