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Cancer Drugs have Doubled to $10,000 each Month, Report Details

Update Date: May 06, 2014 11:01 AM EDT
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The average costs of brand-name cancer drugs have doubled since 2003, a new report detailed. The new research, conducted by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, which is a health information, services and technology company, calculated that today, cancer drugs cost an average of $10,000 per month. For some kinds of treatments, costs can increase to $30,000 a month.

For this report, the researchers examined the prices for the 10 most common chemotherapy treatments. They discovered that hospitals charged an average of 189 percent more than private practices for the same kinds of treatments. For a hospital outpatient, average costs per dose increased by $134 in comparison to the costs that patients who received treatment at an oncologist's office had. Hospitals claim that the huge disparities are due to administrative costs.

When the researcher examined the effects of these costs, they found that patients who deal with higher out-of-pocket costs are more likely to quit treatment. The researchers found that an increase of just $30 in copays caused many breast cancer patients to skip or stop medical care.

"The evidence of patients stopping their therapy due to high out-of-pocket costs is alarming," Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute, said reported by CBS News. "Fortunately there are patient assistance programs and other mechanisms available to help patients with this issue."

The report also found that the U.S. has little to no discounts for medications. In Europe, governments are more opened to negotiating prices. Due to these policies, cancer treatments cost around 20 to 40 percent less.

"In the U.S., there are very minimal, if any, discounts," the authors wrote.

The IMS report, "IMS Health Study: Cancer Drug Innovation Surges As Cost Growth Moderates," can be found here.

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