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Dendreon's $93,000 Cancer Drug Price Should Be Paid by U.S., Doctors Say

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posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 04:28 PM
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Dendreon's $93,000 Cancer Drug Price Should Be Paid by U.S., Doctors Say


www.bloomberg.com

Dendreon Inc.’s $93,000 price tag for its Provenge prostate cancer treatment must be covered under the rules of the U.S. Medicare health plan,

the government agency that determines which treatments will be reimbursed, is required by the Social Security Act to pay for all cancer drugs approved by U.S. regulators

The medicine helped patients live about 4.1 months longer than those given a placebo, according to tests used to gain approval.
(visit the link for the full news article)



[edit on 2-8-2010 by dolphinfan]

[edit on 2-8-2010 by dolphinfan]

[edit on 2-8-2010 by dolphinfan]




posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 04:28 PM
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This is a great example of the folly of our current health care system, an example why the costs are out of control and demonstrates the level of influence that Big-Pharma has on the government and hence our lives.

This treatment costs $93,000. It is administered in three shots over a month. The drug has been shown to enable suffers of prostrate cancer to live an additional 4.1 months as to compared to others. OK

That translates to $22,683 per additional month of life and $756/day.

It is outrageous. Some policy derived through a legitimate reason - that drugs that are shown effective to treat cancer be covered by Medicare and hence those drugs not be denied to poor people has now been used to allow for this ridiculous treatment. The government has no recourse but to approve the reimbursement because of how the policy was written. The insanity of governmental policy, lack of common sense and rigidity is incredibily foolish, and typical.

When does it stop? If the drug is shown to lengthen life a week - is that too small to reimburse? How about a day? How do you determine when denying the reimbursement is harming the poor? Why is it a problem to deny the treatment to Medicare recipients - its a problem because absent Medicare reimbursement the drug company would lose a ton of cash. Any reasonable person paying out of their own pocket is going to refuse this treatment. Only those who don't have to pay are going to accept it. It is, afterall, their "right" to receive it.

This insanity has to stop. Someone with prostrate cancer typically has enough time to put their affairs in order. Prolonging their lives by 4 months is meaningless.

Treatments like this should not be provided, let alone covered by any insurance policy, period.

I realize that the firm put a lot of cash into the development of this drug and that the underlying science could prove to be extremely valuable. Great. The fact that the drug only prolongs life 4 months means that the drug is a failure.

This company should either have to write down the cost, or get back to the lab to make the drug a viable treatment. We should not be burdened with this cost.

www.bloomberg.com
(visit the link for the full news article)

[edit on 2-8-2010 by dolphinfan]



posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 04:33 PM
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I wonder....wouldn't it be less expensive to simply remove the prostate?

I would have to say that since there is no cure for cancer, then any cancer drug must be considered "experimental"; thus, not covered.



posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 04:39 PM
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reply to post by Aggie Man
 





I wonder....wouldn't it be less expensive to simply remove the prostate?

Once cancer is malignant it is usually found only when it "sent" cancer cells to other tissues in other organs. Since cancer is good description of cell going crazy, sometimes removal of primary source of cancer causes those secondary locations to grow much more rapidly.
Of course if you suggest to remove prostate at birth it would eliminate prostate cancer. At a certain cost i am not sure humanity will be able to pay.



posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 04:51 PM
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Originally posted by ZeroKnowledge
reply to post by Aggie Man
 





I wonder....wouldn't it be less expensive to simply remove the prostate?

Once cancer is malignant it is usually found only when it "sent" cancer cells to other tissues in other organs. Since cancer is good description of cell going crazy, sometimes removal of primary source of cancer causes those secondary locations to grow much more rapidly.
Of course if you suggest to remove prostate at birth it would eliminate prostate cancer. At a certain cost i am not sure humanity will be able to pay.


You are correct in that there are cases of terminal prostate cancer. However, I believe there is has a high success rate, when the prostate is removed....like 98% or so.

I still say, if it's a terminal case, then the expense of "experimental" drugs should be at the patient's (or their private insurance's) expense. It's not right for tax payers to fork over that kind of money to extend a terminal case by 4 months.



posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 04:54 PM
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Originally posted by dolphinfan


When does it stop? If the drug is shown to lengthen life a week - is that too small to reimburse? How about a day? How do you determine when denying the reimbursement is harming the poor?


Its a touchy subject, but I will go on record as stating that I personally, (yes you can all flame me at will) do not think we should be spending 93K to give someone an extra four months.

Not for a slow growing slow acting cancer like prostate cancer, in any event, when as you pointed out, they would have had plenty of time to make their peace and get their affairs in order.

Under different circumstances, with a different sort of ailment, maybe. If that person did not have time to say goodbye and put their affairs in order. Perhaps. However the simple fact is, resources of all kinds are limited. Spending like crazy on the terminally ill or very old to buy them a few more days, a few more weeks or months is not good for the whole of society. It doesnt significantly change the outcome for the patient.

Now dont get me wrong, I am not saying that JUST because someone is very old they should not be treated with expensive drugs. I am saying you need to look at the overall benefit to that person. Someone 84 who goes skiing, enjoys life, and is self sufficient should get more dollars spent on them than someone 84 who is drooling in a diaper lost in dementia.

It shouldnt be about poverty, but it is. Rich people have the option of paying for that for months on their own. So there will be differences in care based on wealth. But on the public dime, we should use some basic, compassionate common sense about how much we invest in someone who is on the verge of death.

I know that I, personally, would calculate my odds based on my age, overall physical condition, etc., before deciding whether or not to spend my savings
extending my own life, or leaving it to those younger and healthier than me, who might actually get something worthwhile out of that money. Death is inevitable. It seems to me we need to stop pretending it can be avoided and should be avoided at all costs. Its just flat unnatural to act that way, considering the fact that it cannot be avoided, ultimately.

[edit on 2-8-2010 by Illusionsaregrander]



posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 08:10 PM
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reply to post by Illusionsaregrander
 


I agree with you. I think about the people who have conditions that are not life threatening yet who need medication that is very expensive for whom this money would be better spent.

I have a fit 74 year old uncle who has a few normal conditions for someone his age and he pays over $200/month for his perscriptions. Medicare does not cover all of the cost because there is no true generic for one of the medications. He has tried all of the available analogs and they have not been effective.

At $200/month, being on Social Security coupled with a small pension, his drug costs represent a healthy percentage of his monthly income. This is a gent who gets out and about, volunteers at the local food bank/community centerr, plays poker with the boys. He's got a number of quality years left in him. He's fortunate as he can afford it. There are many folks who are in similar situations medically who can't and we should be applying the $93K to those folks, not prolonging someone already at end of life another 4 months to line the pockets of a drug company.



posted on Aug, 3 2010 @ 09:22 AM
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I am not surprised by this at all. Recently the FDA "persecuted" Jim Folsom for selling Rife technology devices that cure cancer without serious side effects. His equipment cost about $2000.00. FDA claimed control over his devices even though the congress said they had no authority.

This is blatant fascism, and is just one more example of the marriage of the government and industry. Notice I did not say "our government".



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