25th March 18:32
NY TIMES: Tres Cher C Treatment Drugs (leukemia)
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Cancer Drugs Offer Hope, but at a Huge Expense
By ALEX BERENSON
Published: July 12, 2005
Ten thousand dollars once seemed a lot to pay for a few months' supply
of a drug.
No more. Avastin. Erbitux. Gleevec. Herceptin. Rituxan. Tarceva. These
are among the first in a wave of new drugs giving hope to millions of
cancer patients by treating the disease in new ways, like blocking the
blood vessels that feed tumors.
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Mark Schiefelbein for The New York Times
Shawnette Treat takes a cancer drug that costs $90 a day. A nonprofit
group helps her pay for it.
The Price of Fighting CancerBut they are all highly expensive, up to
$100,000 for a course of treatment that lasts a few months. That is
hundreds of times the cost of older, more toxic cancer drugs, and
several times the annual cost of AIDS drugs, whose prices caused
widespread anger during the 1990's.
And except for Gleevec, a leukemia drug from Novartis that has produced
spectacular results, the new cancer drugs help most patients only
marginally, prolonging life by a few weeks or months.
For now, the high-priced cancer drugs are a relatively small part of
overall medical spending. But some doctors warn that with more new
drugs coming, the use of superexpensive therapies...
(entire article is at copyrighted <ny times.com> website)