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Essay: We Can’t Afford the Drugs That Could Cure Cancer

(Wall Street Journal) Sept 20, 2018 - Customized immunotherapies are ready—if drug companies stop charging so much for them.

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Thomas Marsland, MD (Posted: September 25, 2018)

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How drugs are priced remains a huge black box. There is no question that costs are rising and making it more and more difficult for patients to obtain needed treatments. Although not a big fan of Dr E I do agree that "what the market will bear" plays a large part in that. Clearly research costs are a major component. It is unbelievable how expensive it is to bring a new drug to market. Certainly we need to develop less expensive research designs in the drug approval process. One point not made is the the US pricing is responsible for a large part of drug development costs, with pricing in other markets outside the US covering significantly less of those costs. How much of the cost of a drug comes from marketing is also a complete unknown? How much does direct to consumer marketing really cost and what does it really add for our patients? There are solutions out there. ASCO and others have developed position papers worth reading with some good suggestions on how to help control costs. Hopefully someone is listening.

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