Over 110 oncologists from hospitals across the U.S. have come forward to express their disappointment with the soaring cost of cancer treatment. The recommendations of the medical experts have been outlined in the editorial of the Mayo Clinical Proceedings Journal.
The team of oncologists has stressed the importance of framing new regulations to control the prices of the life-saving drugs. In the past, various insurers and state Medicaid officers have already voiced their opinion about the soaring prescription drug costs. The Wall Street Journal reports that the cost of the prescription drugs increased by 12 percent in 2014, the largest percentage ever recorded in past 10 years.
Some of the provisions suggested by the group include:
- Establish a U.S. Food and Drug Administration offshoot to look after the mechanism to set price for a new treatment
- Allow Medicare to negotiate for the prices of the drugs
- Reform the patent system
- Encourage the cancer research organizations and the bodies that represent cancer patients and specialists
- Allow import of low-cost drugs from countries across the border
- Introduce a law to prevent chemical companies from delaying access to the generic drugs
“High cancer drug prices are affecting the care of patients with cancer and our healthcare systems,” wrote lead author Dr. Ayalew Tefferi in the journal editorial. Tefferi is a hematologist at the Mayo Clinic.
“The average gross household income in the U.S. is about $52,000 per year. For an insured patient with cancer who needs a drug that costs $120,000 per year, the out-of-pocket expenses could be as much as $25,000 to $30,000 -- more than half their average household income."
Considering that cancer will affect 1 in every three individuals in their lifetime, the doctors believe that the out-of-pocket expenses are ought to put a financial burden on such patients. The same team of oncologists is also supporting a patient-based movement on Change.org. The movement is a protest against the high prices of the drugs so that the life-saving medicines have easy access to the patients.