Doctors: Cancer Drug Prices 'Astronomical,' Unethical

More than 100 sign piece decrying costs to patients
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2013 3:20 PM CDT
Doctors: Cancer Drug Prices 'Astronomical,' Unethical
Cancer drugs have become unreasonably expensive, some doctors argue.   (Shutterstock)

More than 100 cancer specialists from more than 15 countries are joining together to call for lower drug prices, suggesting that the current prices—which can range as high as $138,000 a year—are unconscionably high, and could be seen as profiteering. "Advocating for lower drug prices is a necessity to save the lives of patients," they write in a commentary for the journal Blood. Given that drugs are necessary to save lives, they cannot simply be priced based on what the market will bear, the doctors argue.

The piece focuses on drugs treating myeloid leukemia, which is the specialists' area of expertise, the New York Times reports, but the same arguments apply to other drug costs. While the debate over pricing is a familiar one, it's unusual to see so many physicians banding together to tackle it. The group proposes to foster a dialogue about lowering prices "by organizing regular meetings, involving all parties concerned." (Read more cancer stories.)

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