Big Pharma’s exorbitant cancer drug prices are due to corrupt monopolies, not development costs, study shows

Thursday, April 9, 2015
By Paul Martin

by: J. D. Heyes
Thursday, April 09, 2015

Authors of a new report published online in Mayo Clinic Proceedings say that dramatically higher prices for cancer medications are beginning to have a negative effect on patient care in the U.S., as well as the American health care system overall.

“Americans with cancer pay 50 percent to 100 percent more for the same patented drug than patients in other countries,” wrote S. Vincent Rajkumar, M.D., of Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, one of the authors of the recently posted report. “As oncologists we have a moral obligation to advocate for affordable cancer drugs for our patients.”

Rajkumar and a colleague, Hagop Kantarjian, M.D., of the MD Anderson Cancer Center, write that the average prices of cancer medications for about 12 months of treatment grew between $5,000 and $10,000 before the year 2000 to more than $100,000 by 2012, or a 100-fold increase.

Over roughly the same period of time, the average American household income fell by about 8 percent, perhaps in large part to the Great Recession of 2008-09.

In their paper, the authors refute the primary arguments used by Big Pharma to justify such dramatic increases and continued high cost of cancer drugs, especially that it costs so much to conduct research and development of drugs, the comparative benefits to patients, that eventually market forces will equalize and stabilize prices, and that putting price controls on cancer medications would quash further R & D.

All rules favor Big Pharma

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