Cancer Drug Costs Are Skyrocketing, New Research Shows – Headlines & Global News

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Cancer Drug Costs Are Skyrocketing, New Research Shows

By Tyler MacDonald | Apr 30, 2016 05:07 PM EDT

Cancer Drugs

The results of a new study have revealed that the cost of cancer drugs are increasing at a higher rate than many people realize. The results found that the price of oral cancer treatment medication has increased multiples times since 2000, and this finding remained constant, even after adjusting prices for inflation based on data from the prescription drug database. In addition, newer drugs cost significantly more than currently available drugs.

One of the main reasons for the skyrocketing drug prices is likely due to the amount of new drugs being introduced into the market. Approximately 32 therapies have made their way into the market between the years 2000 and 2014, and the costs for these treatments increased from an average of $1,869 per month in 2000 all the way to $11,325 per month in 2014.

In comparison to chemotherapy cancer treatment, most of the newly introduced drugs work in a much more sophisticated, gentle manner. However, due to this, their prices are much higher and, in turn, become unaffordable for cancer patients that don’t have adequate insurance plans.

“Patients are increasingly taking on the burden of paying for these high-cost specialty drugs as plans move toward use of higher deductibles and co-insurance – where a patient will pay a percentage of the drug cost rather than a flat copay,” said Stacie Dusetzina of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and co-author of the study.

The authors claim that patents are increasingly purchasing these high-cost drugs whether they have the financial ability to do so or not, despite the fact that many commercially insured health plans have adequate coverage of orally-administered cancer drugs.

Dusetzina stressed that although the study accounted for payments by commercial health plans, it did not factor in spending by Medicaid and Medicare, which might differ. Furthermore, the products included in the study were only those dispensed and reimbursed by commercial health plans, meaning that products that were rarely used or recently approved were likely excluded.

“The major trend here is that these products are just getting more expensive over time,” Dusetzina concluded, although she does not think that enough data exists yet to pinpoint exactly why.

The findings were published in the April 28 issue of the journal JAMA Oncology.

Cancer Drug Costs Are Skyrocketing, New Research Shows – Headlines & Global News