The annual expenditure made to purchase cancer drugs has been increasing regularly and has been estimated at a colossal $100 billion in 2014.
Both medical experts and doctors are working together to find a solution to this ever growing treatment costs. Because of the expensive cancer drugs, a lot of insurance companies refuse to support the patients during times of crisis. The doctors who treat them opine that the cost of drugs should be controlled before it reaches a level where only the super rich could afford them.
The forecasted estimates of the cost of cancer drugs are at $114 billion in the next two years. If manufacturers increase prices even higher, it might touch a new high of $147 billion within 24 months which will make it unreachable for most patients worldwide. The financial assistance program that some drug manufacturers offer to cover treatment costs require a lot of processing which makes it virtually inaccessible to everyone, commented Richard Stone, a director at a Cancer institute in Boston.
The doctors have already started exploring possible options to decrease the cost of drugs. Some medical institutes, based on the suggestion of the practitioners, have started permitting patients to import cancer drugs from countries where they are much cheaper. A large share of the patients has benefitted by doing so from countries like Canada, where quality is uncompromised but helps keep their medical expenses under control.
From another perspective, drug companies which have been consistently supporting scientists in finding new and better ways to treat cancer claims reducing costs will hinder innovation. The companies are also against importing drugs because it voids patent rights and decreases their revenue, when many patients choose to use this alternative route to reduce costs.
In a situation like this, doctors and drug manufacturers are trying to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution. Cancer patients are the sufferers in this scenario because they are already struggling with a life threatening disease and imposing huge costs on them further complicates the situation.
Supporting the increasing costs, an industry expert said, “If a new policy is introduced, it might be the end of innovation which will also lead to lots of lives lost due to lack of medicine. But, at the same time, drug manufacturers should understand that in order to sustain in the industry and acquire funds for research, they have to keep costs in control so that patients could actually buy the required medicines.”