Cancer Treatment Costs a Lot

The Washington Post notes the “hefty cost” of cancer treatment even for those with insurance.

Recent research spells out what patients are facing. A study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimated that between 2001 and 2008, 13.4 percent of adults younger than 65 who had cancer spent more than 20 percent of their income on health care, including premiums. That compared with 9.7 percent of people with other chronic conditions and just 4.4 percent of those with no chronic conditions.

The article goes on to note the the increased bankruptcy rate among patients –over 6 times the baseline rate over 5 years.

ASCO the American Society of Clinical Oncology in the same article is noted to recommend :

The American Society of Clinical Oncology encourages oncologists to discuss treatment costs with patients. But that’s easier said than done, say some oncologists. More than half of the income of many oncology practices comes from administering the drugs they prescribe, says Ramsey, so oncologists are not entirely disinterested parties. In addition, the timing is often tough. Patients are “already scared and they have cancer,” he says.

Medicynical Note: It appears from their pricing of medications that drug companies have a sliding scale. The more life threatening the illness, the more the drug costs–whether or not it has a significant effect on the disease’s course

Another factor in the cost of cancer treatment, or any drug treatment purchased in the U.S., is that we pay more by 30%, for the exact same drug than other countries’ citizens. It’s a fact.

What’s amazing is that we tolerate the discriminatory behaviour of drug companies and pay the increased price.


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