A new report has bad news for cancer patients.
A new study has found that the cost of cancer drugs is skyrocketing, and by more than most people realize.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that oral medications used for treating cancer have increased multiple times in cost since 2000, according to a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill statement.
This was true even after adjusting the prices for inflation based on a prescription drug database. Newer drugs also cost far more than drugs currently available.
A big reason for the cost increase is because there have been so many new drugs introduced. A total of 32 therapies have been brought to market between 2000 and 2014, and the costs for these treatments rose from an average of $1,869 per month in 2000 to $11,325 per month in 2014.
The drugs are often more sophisticated and much more gentle than chemotherapy in treating cancer. However, the problem is these drugs are quickly becoming unaffordable for cancer patients who don’t have excellent insurance.
“Patients are increasingly taking on the burden of paying for these high-cost specialty drugs as plans move toward use of higher deductibles and co-insurance – where a patient will pay a percentage of the drug cost rather than a flat copay,” study author Stacie Dusetzina, Ph.D., at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in the statement.
The statement also notes that “patients are increasingly taking on the financial burden of paying for these high-cost specialty drugs, despite the fact that commercially insured health plans have historically had generous coverage for orally-administered cancer drugs.”
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