Financial Toxicity: If myeloma doesn’t kill us, the cost of treatment will!

One of the myelomal blogosphere’s newest contributors, Myeloma Cinderella, turned-me-on to a fascinating article on Chemotherapy Advisor last week, Innovative Cancer Treatments Increase Patients’ ‘Financial Toxicity.’  In it, reporter Debra Hughes highlights just how expensive it can be once someone is diagnosed with cancer.  Of course, myeloma patients understand this all-too-well.  Yet the seeing the size, scope and costs firsthand can be a real eye opener!

Check-out some of the highlights (or low-lights) from Debra’s piece:

Out-of-pocket costs have become so high that a new term has been coined: “financial toxicity.”2

“Of the 12 drugs approved by the FDA for various cancer indications in 2012, 11 were priced above $100,000 per year,” Hagop Kantarjian, MD

A recent study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that people diagnosed with cancer were 2.65 times more likely go bankrupt than those without cancer.

MD Anderson hematologist, Dr. Kantarjian: “Are cancer drug prices too high? Yes. Is this recent? Yes. The average was $5,000 to $10,000 in 2000; $30,000 to $50,000 in 2005; and now $100,000-plus. Etiology? Corporate greed.”

Dr. Kantarjian: “With out-of-pocket expenses of approximately 20%, many patients with cancer cannot afford their drugs and abandon treatment.”

Read more by clicking-on the link below:

Here’s yet another, even better article by Matthew Herper in Forbes about the recent flood of new immunotherapies, With ‘Cell Death’ Drugs, Bristol-Myers May Win No Matter What.  Here’s the link:

You may not have noticed, but in past posts I would share links by writing, CLICK HERE, or making the article title “hot.”  But I’m getting so many “broken link” notices lately, I want a reader to be able to copy and paste a web address in case a reader in the future comes across a broken link.  Going back and repairing links in year-old posts is proving to be way too much work.

In the spirit of moving on, since ASCO covers all oncology, myeloma seems to get lost in the shuffle in Chicago each year.  That’s one reason the IMF focuses more on ASH; there myeloma is a star player.

OK.  Everyone has had their Sunday coffee.  Here on out, myeloma posters and oral presentations begin to move to the forefront.  I’ll report back later this evening.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

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