A Hospital Says ‘No’ to an $11,000-a-Month Cancer Drug – NYTimes.com


A good piece by Memorial Sloan-Kettering oncologists on intelligent and appropriate cost considerations in medication use and choice, and when not to use more expensive treatments. What I find interesting is that both drugs mentioned, the cheaper Avastin and the twice as high Zaltrap only prolong life by an average of 1.4 months, not years. Quite frankly, hard for me to see much benefit in either drug. Quote:

Once you take all this into account it may seem surprising that the decision to exclude Zaltrap from our hospital’s formulary was a hard one to make. But because our medical culture equates “new” with “better” so unequivocally, a decision like this one can seem out of place at a leading cancer hospital

Political rhetoric today is similarly slanted. Our refusal to adopt this remarkably expensive therapy risks being labeled “rationing,” not rational.

This political climate also helps explain why the Affordable Care Act precludes Medicare from changing its coverage or payment amounts based on cost comparisons like the one we have outlined, even when two drugs appear to work equally well. And it is probably why neither presidential candidate has addressed runaway cancer drug prices.

But if no one else will act, leading cancer centers and other research hospitals should. The future of our health care system, and of cancer care, depends on our using our limited resources wisely.

A Hospital Says ‘No’ to an $11,000-a-Month Cancer Drug – NYTimes.com.

About a month later, Sanofi announced that it was halving the price following the Memorial Sloan-Kettering decision:

Sanofi Halves Price of Cancer Drug Zaltrap


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