Read the Forbes piece, "Are Cancer Drugs Worth The Money", for a different perspective on all the news coming out of the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. It begins:
ORLANDO - At the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology, giant banners with pictures of heroic cancer patients proclaim doctors are "Personalizing Cancer Care."
But many companies seem to be maximizing cancer profit instead. Big drug companies are making big money off smaller and smaller improvements in cancer care. Newfangled cancer drugs can cost $50,000 a year, and that doesn’t mean they will add a year to the patient’s life--you might spend $50,000 for a year and extend the patient's life by only weeks.
The numbers would look better if drug companies did a better job of targeting drugs at the patients most likely to benefit. But that targeting has occurred in only a few scattered examples.
The skyrocketing costs for limited benefit are leading some experts to worry about whether the medical system has the right incentives.
"We are wasting a lot of resources treating people with treatments they don't need," says Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.