118 Prominent Oncologists Call for Controlling the Cost of Cancer Drugs

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Cancer drug prices are increasing at an alarming rate that harms patients. As a result, a group of prominent oncologists is circulating a petition to require pharmaceutical companies to disclose the development costs and profits of their cancer medications and the rationale for their charges.

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Cancer Drugs Are Too Expensive

118 prominent oncologists call for a grass-roots movement to stem the rapid increase of prices of cancer drugs. In his book The Cancer Solution: Taking Charge of Your Life with Cancer, Dr. Jack Westman supports this movement by providing a comprehensive analysis of contemporary cancer research and care and what can be done to improve them.

These oncologists call attention to the following facts:

  • Cancer drug prices are increasing at an alarming rate that is harmful to patients.
  • Cancer drug prices have increased more than tenfold from 2000 (average price $5,000-$10,000 per year) to 2015 (average price of new drugs exceeds $120,000 per year).
  • Even patients with insurance have out-of-pocket expenses of 20-25%. Since each American has a 1 in 3 lifetime chance of developing cancer, many of us are at risk of being unable to pay for cancer drugs.
  • The high price of cancer drugs is shortening the lives of patients who cannot afford them. This creates an unjust differential in treatment based on financial status.

To allow market forces to lower cancer drug prices and to provide all cancer patients with access to the best treatments available, these oncologists prepared the following petition:

We request that the President, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the United States Congress consider our protest against high cancer drug prices by implementing the following strategies:

1) Allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, as does the Department of Veterans Affairs, by removing all current legal restrictions on dong so;

2) Allow the importation of cancer drugs across U.S. borders for personal use. Prices in Canada can be fifty percent less for the same cancer drugs than in the United States;

3) Enact federal legislation that prevents drug companies from delaying access to generic drugs (“Pay-for-Delay”) and extending the life of drug patents (Patent “Evergreening”);

4) Create a post-Federal Drug Administration drug approval process comprised of concerned parties (that includes the strong voice of patients and their advocates) to estimate and propose a fair price for a new treatment based on its value to patients and health care;

5) Allow organizations such as the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) to include drug prices in their assessments of the value of drugs and treatments;

6) Request nonprofit organizations that represent cancer specialists and their patients - such as ASCO, ASH, ACS, LLS, and NCCN – to develop guidelines to base the prices of drugs on their treatment value.

These oncologists are seeking public support. To learn more about what can be done to improve cancer research and care visit the following website: http://www.thecancersolution.net/cancer-advocacy.html.

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Jack Westman

Jack Westman