The public outcry’s are overwhelming with the cost of cancer treatment and prescription drugs like chemotherapy. A new report from the IMS Institute finds that global spending on oncology treatments reached $100 billion last year, which represented a 10.3% increase from the previous year and a huge rise from $75 billion spent five years ago.
On a worldwide basis, cancer drugs and chemotherapy accounted for 10.8% of spending on all medicines in 2014, up from 10.1% in 2010. In the U.S., spending on cancer drugs and chemothreapy accounted for 11.3% of all drug spending last year. On a per capita basis, spending in the U.S. reached $99 in 2014, up from $71 in 2010, with similar increases occurring in other major markets.
The high cost of cancer chemotherapy can be prohibitive for many cancer patients. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 percent of cancer patients younger than 65 delay or refuse treatment due to the high associated cost.
One of the main factors leading to a higher average cost of chemotherapy is the introduction of newer and better drugs, which are also extremely expensive. A larger number of patients can not afford chemotherapy because of high deductables or reimbursements by insurance companies are not specified for that particular new cancer treatment.
The cost of eight weeks of chemotherapy can range from $100 to $30,000. Treatment with inexpensive drugs are around $300 dollars for eight weeks. However, to improve therapeutic effect, these drugs are often used in combination with newer drugs which are typically more expensive. According to Johns Hopkins Health Alerts, addition of newer chemotherapy drugs can push up the cost of the dosing regimen to as much as $30,000.
The cost of cancer chemotherapy can vary widely depending on a number of factors. Choice of drugs as well as frequency and duration of dosing regimen can affect the cost. Hospital charges add on to the cost of the drug and can vary widely, depending upon the location of the patient.
The cost of cancer treatment in summary from the IMS report:
In the U.S., patient out of pocket costs associated with intravenous cancer drugs rose sharply. Between 2012 and 2013, out of pocket costs for IV cancer drugs grew by 71% but only 16% for oral medications.
Overall therapy treatment costs per month have increased 39% over the past ten years in inflation adjusted terms, similar to the 42% increase in overall response rates and 45% increase in months that patients are on each therapy.