$30,000-a-Month Cancer Drug

John23
John23 Member Posts: 2,122
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
$30,000-a-Month Cancer Drug

A newly approved chemotherapy drug will cost about $30,000 a month, a sign that the prices of cancer medicines are continuing to rise despite growing concern about health care costs.

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Preparing an anticancer drug. Many oncologists question the value of expensive anticancer drugs that can cost $30,000 a month but do not prolong life more than a few months.

Minh Uong/The New York Times
The price of the new drug, called Folotyn, is at least triple that of other drugs that critics have said are too expensive for the benefits they offer to patients. The colon cancer drug Erbitux, for instance, costs $10,000 a month and the drug Avastin about $8,800 when used to treat lung cancer.

The price of Folotyn “seems way higher than I heard of before,” Robert L. Erwin, president of the Marti Nelson Cancer Foundation, a patient advocacy group. “I can’t imagine there not being a backlash against the pricing.”

Read the whole story here:
http://www.nytimes.com/
«13

Comments

  • Annabelle41415
    Annabelle41415 Member Posts: 6,715 Member
    Treatments
    Well I'm not sure if the price is rising or not, but one of my two week sessions was almost $15,000 not including the nurse care and I was doing it twice a month. That alone was over $30,000. I agree things need to be reformed in health care big time especially with so much being charged for drugs, but I don't want to see it come down to "government run". I had cancer, I fear for a government taking over my insurance.

    Kim
  • PGLGreg
    PGLGreg Member Posts: 731
    pricing
    It's up to the company, Allos, what to charge for their drug, isn't it? If they've set the price above what it's worth, they won't sell enough of it, and they'll have to lower their price. (This is so obvious, I feel silly saying it.)

    --Greg
  • KATE58
    KATE58 Member Posts: 299
    PGLGreg said:

    pricing
    It's up to the company, Allos, what to charge for their drug, isn't it? If they've set the price above what it's worth, they won't sell enough of it, and they'll have to lower their price. (This is so obvious, I feel silly saying it.)

    --Greg

    Greg,
    That theory works with

    Greg,
    That theory works with paper goods or potato chips etc,but NOT lifesaving drugs.they charge those prices because people will always pay them.They make deals with insurance companies for lower prices,then stick it to the uninsured and underinsured doubling prices.

    The pharmacutical companies made deals with the canandian government to sell them drugs real cheap,then made it practically illegal for U.S. citizens to buy drugs in canada.

    AND they won't make the same deals with the U.S. government,'cause it will cut into those HUGE profits and bonuses pharm companies make.
  • KATE58
    KATE58 Member Posts: 299

    Treatments
    Well I'm not sure if the price is rising or not, but one of my two week sessions was almost $15,000 not including the nurse care and I was doing it twice a month. That alone was over $30,000. I agree things need to be reformed in health care big time especially with so much being charged for drugs, but I don't want to see it come down to "government run". I had cancer, I fear for a government taking over my insurance.

    Kim

    All I can say is I am on
    All I can say is I am on medicare a 'GOVERNMENT RUN INSURANCE' and I have gotten better care
    than I ever did on private insurance, which was always turning down treatments or drugs as too expensive.Medicare has never once even questioned a treatment or drug.
    60% of the U.S population is on government insurance already.
    The poor get help,the rich can afford to pay their own way,the middle class gets screwed.
  • John23
    John23 Member Posts: 2,122

    Treatments
    Well I'm not sure if the price is rising or not, but one of my two week sessions was almost $15,000 not including the nurse care and I was doing it twice a month. That alone was over $30,000. I agree things need to be reformed in health care big time especially with so much being charged for drugs, but I don't want to see it come down to "government run". I had cancer, I fear for a government taking over my insurance.

    Kim

    Kim -
    Down here in Florida,

    Kim -

    Down here in Florida, the home insurance company "Citizens Ins"
    is the Florida government company. They established it for those
    that couldn't get home insurance from commercial companies.

    After the hurricanes down here, my brother-in-law's home insurance
    was cancelled by the company he had for years and years. He never
    put in any claims, but they dropped him due to "risk factors". He got
    "Citizen" to insure his home very quickly.

    That is exactly what is happening to our health insurance. Each year
    the commercial companies chop away benefits and raise premiums,
    and don't hesitate to drop "high risk" clients. It's not much different
    than car insurance.

    My BC/BS was provided by the company I retired from, and
    the benefits had always exceeded any other's.

    Unfortunately, they too started to cut back, and began raising the
    premiums that my former employer had been paying. Now, new
    employees will not be getting the full package, and likely will not
    have any insurance as part of their retirement package.

    I am now on medicare, and the BC/BS is secondary; new retirees
    will only have medicare.

    I don't like Socialism, but public schools, social security, and health care
    are three things that I would support to my dying day.

    The "private sector" has failed us more than once; those three
    aforementioned items have yet to fail us, in spite of those that
    try so hard to make it fail.


    Sorry for the rant.... Wasn't yellin' at you, though.... I just had to
    type all that; get it out of my fingers....ya'know?

    I feel soooo much better now!
    (whew)


    Loveya' kid! Stay well!
  • usakat
    usakat Member Posts: 610
    PGLGreg said:

    pricing
    It's up to the company, Allos, what to charge for their drug, isn't it? If they've set the price above what it's worth, they won't sell enough of it, and they'll have to lower their price. (This is so obvious, I feel silly saying it.)

    --Greg

    Why are cancer drugs so expensive?
    According to a New York Times article, Genentech and it’s partner Roche, spent over $2.25 billion on research and development (formulate, manufacture, patents, FDA approvals, extensive testing and trials, mass production, and marketing) to bring the life extending – life saving drug Avastin to market for stage IV colon cancer patient use. Genentech and Roche planned to spend an additional $1 billion to test Avastin for treatment of earlier stage colon cancers. Protocols for testing and trials are required and regulated by U. S. Food and Drug Administration - FDA.

    Costly Cancer Drug Offers Hope, but Also a Dilemma

    California Biomedical Research Association reports that it takes on average 12 years for pharmaceuticals to move from the first stage of laboratory research to approval for wide spread patient use. They also report that a mere ten percent of drugs developed in a laboratory ever reach human clinical trials, and only one percent is ultimately approved for human use. Thomas Edison said about his invention, the light bulb, “I haven't failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work.” Developing pharmaceuticals, especially cancer drugs and the new biologic drugs, is very much like Edison’s development of the light bulb.

    New Drug Development Process Fact Sheet

    As for me, I’m grateful that the really smart people we rely on to develop new life saving cancer treatments forge ahead in spite of frustrating failure rates and bring more promising treatments to cancer patients every year. I’m grateful there are companies out there like Genentech and Roche, and Sanofi-Aventis - Sanofi-Aventis tested and produced the Oxaliplatin and Roche developed, tested and produced the Xeloda I took for my cancer. It is because of their innovation, investment and dedication that many, many cancer patients are living longer and many have been completely cured. As for me, this January will mark my third year cancer free and as a person with HNPCC / Lynch Syndrome, who very likely will face cancer again, I’m counting on the continuing innovation that will help extend my life and the lives of my family who also have HNPCC. I’m also hoping and praying that the exciting innovation we’ve witnessed the last several years will continue full steam ahead so that many here at CSN and elsewhere might finally get that life saving treatment they have waited and prayed for.

    How many here have been on Avastin? Oxaliplatin? Erbitux? Are you grateful to those investors who made it possible for scientists and pharmaceutical companies to make those drugs available for yours or your family or friends’ use? Where would we be if we didn’t have those drugs? I know my grandmother who died of metastatic colon cancer, as well as her younger sister who also died from colon cancer, didn’t have the choices, the options, and the hope we have today.

    The Wall Street Journal interviewed Genentech’s CEO, biochemist Dr. Arthur D. Levinson, who sheds some light on drug pricing, specifically Avastin, from the manufacturer’s point of view (see attached link). Last month Bioworld Today reported the profit margin for Genentech’s Avastin is approximately 20%. That 20% profit margin allows Genentech to further their research and development efforts with Avastin and other new promising drugs and treatments. (On a personal note, I worked for the construction company that built Genentech’s manufacturing facility for Avastin – the construction cost was $380 million taking over 2.9 million man hours to complete = $380 million for one building for one drug - Avastin).

    How Genentech Wins At Blockbuster Drugs

    Dr. Levinson is quoted in the Wall Street Interview, “…you can audit our books. Our margins are respectable, but not off the chart. They are not Microsoft margins; they are not Oracle's margins, even.”

    Apple’s profit margin for their iPod products range from 40% to nearly 75%. Even with huge profit margins people line up to get their hands on the latest models, often lining up the night before release dates, camping on sidewalks to receive the latest in iPod innovation. And guess what? There are no picket signs or demands to Apple to lower their prices to the public. In fact this holiday’s gift giving season, just like the last several years, iPod will be a leading gift given and received without protest.

    As for potato chips? Frito Lay is enjoying approximately 25% profit this year, representing 63% of sales and 60% profit for Frito Lay’s parent company, PepsiCo. Why aren’t we railing against Chester Cheetah, Frito Kid or W.C. Frito?

    As for the difference of drug costs between Canada and the U. S., a large factor is that Canada uses price fixing, so pharmaceutical companies negotiate their rates for Canadians, while in the U. S. the prices are negotiated and set by reimbursable rates from insurance companies, and Medicare and Medicaid. When Avastin was new to the market Canadian patients did not have access to it because it was refused by the Canadian government ( Nova Scotia Rejects Funding for Avastin ). While the Canadian government eventually approved Avastin for use, patients pay for it themselves, unless they have purchased their own prescription drug plan. One of our members here at CSN, Wanda23, turned to fundraising to help pay for her mother’s Avastain in Canada. Sadly, Wanda’s mom died last year on February 26 – you can view her story at youtube.com. For the approximately 85% of Americans who do have insurance and prescription drug coverage, they pay far less direct out of pocket costs than the Canadians do for drugs like Avastin.

    There is a lot of discussion going on in Washington about streamlining FDA approvals for follow on generics and reducing the exclusivity timeline for pharmaceuticals, however in the case of biologic drugs like Avastin it’s not such a clear cut solution to simply allow competitors early access to proprietary formularies. Due to the complexity of producing the biologics and the risk of diminishing the necessary incentives for companies to produce them means any legislative intervention could have drastic negative effects on innovation if not done with consideration for the inventor of the biologic.

    To me it seems like an easy solution, allow the inventors/investors 100% recovery of R&D and provide patent/formulary sharing for a price in order to inspire competition among the biotech companies, but unfortunately Washington doesn’t work that way. Sadly, in the U. S. the pay to play paradigm is alive and well in Washington, with politicians on both sides of the aisle getting their palms greased and pockets padded by big business. Just ask the board of directors for the Ted Kennedy Library, Congresswoman Eshoo (D) of California, Max Baucus (D) of Montana, Trent Lott (R) of Mississippi, President George Bush, and one of the biggest beneficiaries from big pharma, President Barack Obama.

    Solutions for lowering healthcare costs that will in turn provide greater access and greater coverage must be a multi-faceted approach with corrections / legislation to numerous market sectors. A single massive sweeping piece of legislation that mandates every American purchase healthcare insurance and growing government to get it done will not solve the problems. Until we remove the financial incentives to politicians we can never hope the interests of the public at large will be honestly served.

    Yes, cancer treatment drugs do indeed come with a hefty price tag – they cost a king’s ransom to develop, to manufacture, and produce, and certainly patients pay for it. I suppose if lives are saved we can consider it worth it, but it’s sad that wrapped up in that price is paying off self serving politicians.

    More Links:
    Why Biologics Remain Expensive
    Pfizer and Amgen Trade “Political” Places
    AEI - When Patents Are Not Enough
  • AnneCan
    AnneCan Member Posts: 3,673
    usakat said:

    Why are cancer drugs so expensive?
    According to a New York Times article, Genentech and it’s partner Roche, spent over $2.25 billion on research and development (formulate, manufacture, patents, FDA approvals, extensive testing and trials, mass production, and marketing) to bring the life extending – life saving drug Avastin to market for stage IV colon cancer patient use. Genentech and Roche planned to spend an additional $1 billion to test Avastin for treatment of earlier stage colon cancers. Protocols for testing and trials are required and regulated by U. S. Food and Drug Administration - FDA.

    Costly Cancer Drug Offers Hope, but Also a Dilemma

    California Biomedical Research Association reports that it takes on average 12 years for pharmaceuticals to move from the first stage of laboratory research to approval for wide spread patient use. They also report that a mere ten percent of drugs developed in a laboratory ever reach human clinical trials, and only one percent is ultimately approved for human use. Thomas Edison said about his invention, the light bulb, “I haven't failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work.” Developing pharmaceuticals, especially cancer drugs and the new biologic drugs, is very much like Edison’s development of the light bulb.

    New Drug Development Process Fact Sheet

    As for me, I’m grateful that the really smart people we rely on to develop new life saving cancer treatments forge ahead in spite of frustrating failure rates and bring more promising treatments to cancer patients every year. I’m grateful there are companies out there like Genentech and Roche, and Sanofi-Aventis - Sanofi-Aventis tested and produced the Oxaliplatin and Roche developed, tested and produced the Xeloda I took for my cancer. It is because of their innovation, investment and dedication that many, many cancer patients are living longer and many have been completely cured. As for me, this January will mark my third year cancer free and as a person with HNPCC / Lynch Syndrome, who very likely will face cancer again, I’m counting on the continuing innovation that will help extend my life and the lives of my family who also have HNPCC. I’m also hoping and praying that the exciting innovation we’ve witnessed the last several years will continue full steam ahead so that many here at CSN and elsewhere might finally get that life saving treatment they have waited and prayed for.

    How many here have been on Avastin? Oxaliplatin? Erbitux? Are you grateful to those investors who made it possible for scientists and pharmaceutical companies to make those drugs available for yours or your family or friends’ use? Where would we be if we didn’t have those drugs? I know my grandmother who died of metastatic colon cancer, as well as her younger sister who also died from colon cancer, didn’t have the choices, the options, and the hope we have today.

    The Wall Street Journal interviewed Genentech’s CEO, biochemist Dr. Arthur D. Levinson, who sheds some light on drug pricing, specifically Avastin, from the manufacturer’s point of view (see attached link). Last month Bioworld Today reported the profit margin for Genentech’s Avastin is approximately 20%. That 20% profit margin allows Genentech to further their research and development efforts with Avastin and other new promising drugs and treatments. (On a personal note, I worked for the construction company that built Genentech’s manufacturing facility for Avastin – the construction cost was $380 million taking over 2.9 million man hours to complete = $380 million for one building for one drug - Avastin).

    How Genentech Wins At Blockbuster Drugs

    Dr. Levinson is quoted in the Wall Street Interview, “…you can audit our books. Our margins are respectable, but not off the chart. They are not Microsoft margins; they are not Oracle's margins, even.”

    Apple’s profit margin for their iPod products range from 40% to nearly 75%. Even with huge profit margins people line up to get their hands on the latest models, often lining up the night before release dates, camping on sidewalks to receive the latest in iPod innovation. And guess what? There are no picket signs or demands to Apple to lower their prices to the public. In fact this holiday’s gift giving season, just like the last several years, iPod will be a leading gift given and received without protest.

    As for potato chips? Frito Lay is enjoying approximately 25% profit this year, representing 63% of sales and 60% profit for Frito Lay’s parent company, PepsiCo. Why aren’t we railing against Chester Cheetah, Frito Kid or W.C. Frito?

    As for the difference of drug costs between Canada and the U. S., a large factor is that Canada uses price fixing, so pharmaceutical companies negotiate their rates for Canadians, while in the U. S. the prices are negotiated and set by reimbursable rates from insurance companies, and Medicare and Medicaid. When Avastin was new to the market Canadian patients did not have access to it because it was refused by the Canadian government ( Nova Scotia Rejects Funding for Avastin ). While the Canadian government eventually approved Avastin for use, patients pay for it themselves, unless they have purchased their own prescription drug plan. One of our members here at CSN, Wanda23, turned to fundraising to help pay for her mother’s Avastain in Canada. Sadly, Wanda’s mom died last year on February 26 – you can view her story at youtube.com. For the approximately 85% of Americans who do have insurance and prescription drug coverage, they pay far less direct out of pocket costs than the Canadians do for drugs like Avastin.

    There is a lot of discussion going on in Washington about streamlining FDA approvals for follow on generics and reducing the exclusivity timeline for pharmaceuticals, however in the case of biologic drugs like Avastin it’s not such a clear cut solution to simply allow competitors early access to proprietary formularies. Due to the complexity of producing the biologics and the risk of diminishing the necessary incentives for companies to produce them means any legislative intervention could have drastic negative effects on innovation if not done with consideration for the inventor of the biologic.

    To me it seems like an easy solution, allow the inventors/investors 100% recovery of R&D and provide patent/formulary sharing for a price in order to inspire competition among the biotech companies, but unfortunately Washington doesn’t work that way. Sadly, in the U. S. the pay to play paradigm is alive and well in Washington, with politicians on both sides of the aisle getting their palms greased and pockets padded by big business. Just ask the board of directors for the Ted Kennedy Library, Congresswoman Eshoo (D) of California, Max Baucus (D) of Montana, Trent Lott (R) of Mississippi, President George Bush, and one of the biggest beneficiaries from big pharma, President Barack Obama.

    Solutions for lowering healthcare costs that will in turn provide greater access and greater coverage must be a multi-faceted approach with corrections / legislation to numerous market sectors. A single massive sweeping piece of legislation that mandates every American purchase healthcare insurance and growing government to get it done will not solve the problems. Until we remove the financial incentives to politicians we can never hope the interests of the public at large will be honestly served.

    Yes, cancer treatment drugs do indeed come with a hefty price tag – they cost a king’s ransom to develop, to manufacture, and produce, and certainly patients pay for it. I suppose if lives are saved we can consider it worth it, but it’s sad that wrapped up in that price is paying off self serving politicians.

    More Links:
    Why Biologics Remain Expensive
    Pfizer and Amgen Trade “Political” Places
    AEI - When Patents Are Not Enough

    I am a Canadian who is on
    I am a Canadian who is on Folfiri & Avastin, all paid for by the government. Avastin is covered in the province I live in (Ontario) & I believe most of the other provinces as well. Unfortunately I know there are a few (smaller) provinces where it is not covered; healthcare in Canada is under provincial rather than federal law. I believe it should be the same across the country. I have heard some people move from one province to another in order to ensure that they can get the drugs they need at no cost to them. I am fortunate to live in Ontario & have access to these cancer drugs without out-of-pocket expenses.
  • CherylHutch
    CherylHutch Member Posts: 1,375
    KATE58 said:

    Greg,
    That theory works with

    Greg,
    That theory works with paper goods or potato chips etc,but NOT lifesaving drugs.they charge those prices because people will always pay them.They make deals with insurance companies for lower prices,then stick it to the uninsured and underinsured doubling prices.

    The pharmacutical companies made deals with the canandian government to sell them drugs real cheap,then made it practically illegal for U.S. citizens to buy drugs in canada.

    AND they won't make the same deals with the U.S. government,'cause it will cut into those HUGE profits and bonuses pharm companies make.

    Thank you, Kate58!
    Hey Kate58, we have never met here on CSN... it's been awhile since I participated on these boards. Too many politics got involved with some folk feeling they know a lot more than others and making sure they let them know it. I don't have time for that kind of nonsense and it was real thick in here for some time, so I ended up leaving and taking my chats elsewhere ;)

    But I have noticed a few of your posts here on the boards (I've been searching for a CSN friend to get her email address)... and I just had to say that you are such a breath of fresh air! I love your smile... and what you have to say has been so along the lines of what I believe myself :)

    Sorry, I haven't seen your post for when you first joined but am assuming that you are one of us semi-colons, which I'm sorry to hear, but hey... the fact you've found others in a similar predicament, all I can say is "Welcome aboard!!"

    As for the whole drug thing... I'll be the first to say I don't really understand the ins and outs and politics of the pharmaceutical industry. I do know a heck of a lot of drugs, both anti-cancer and anti-everything else are manufactured in the USA. On the other hand, I also know a lot of these same US companies have plants here in Canada and they are manufactured here as well. Also, Canada has some of their own plants and manufacture a bunch of meds that aren't produced in the States but are exported to the States (I think there's a lot of importing/exporting that goes on in both countries). What the deals are made between the two countries, or more important I think, what the deals are made between the pharmaceutical giants, I don't know... but I can report as a Canadian living in the province of BC what the access is to drugs... and from a patient's perspective, the cost is not our concern.

    Yes, there are all these stories that pop up about Canadians dying, waiing for treatments (such exaggeration). One of the popular ones in the "Cancer" circles is that Canadians can't get certain cancer fighting drugs, one of the popular ones being "Avastin". Well, I'm a Canadian and I'm fighting cancer ... and no matter what drug my oncologist prescribes, I get it. There is NEVER any wait because someone has said it's not available or, as a Canadian, I'm not eligible for it.

    Oh, I did have one wait... back when I was on the 5FU pump and then was going to be doing 6 weeks of daily radiation. My onc wanted to change me from the pump to the oral pill. My extended health plan (yes, I have one of those... it's Blue Cross, a private insurance company, not unlike those down in the US. As a matter of fact, I think Blue Cross IS a US company) balked at paying for the oral pill form... after all, they were paying for me to be on the 5FU pump, so why should they now pay for the oral form? Yes, the oral form is expensive. So they figured our provincial Medical Services Plan (government subsidized) should cover the cost. So there was some back and forth discussion between the government subsidized plan and the private insurance as to WHO was going to pay for it. There was NEVER any discussion about "Well, screw it, we aren't going to pay for it, so the patient will have to cover the cost". And to think I got frustrated because the two of them were hashing it out, while I was actually taking the medication and getting my zaps of radiation every day. In the end, the private insurance company ended up paying for it, since it was just a continuation of the chemo I was on before the radiation and would be going back to after the radiation treatments were through.

    So because of stories like the above, those who are against National healthcare LOVE to alter the stories to say how horrid National Healthcare is... even though it was the private insurance company that started the disagreement in the first place (their argument was that if I, the patient DIDN'T have the Extended Health coverage, the government subsidized insurance would have to cover it, so they should cover it now)

    YES, of course, there is going to be the occasional person who falls through the system... whether the fault of their doctors not pursuing it, or their condition is such that any kind of delay ends up being deadly. Just try and tell me this doesn't happen in the US? And yes, because each PROVINCE manages their own Provincial Healthcare system, you will find differences between provinces. What is available in BC may not be available in Ontario... but because of the Canadian Healthcare Act, all Canadians get equal access to basic medical care and treatments. When a new drug first comes out on the scene, it's not unusual that one province may have access and approve it before another province. All depends on supply and demand and god knows what other decisions are made.

    So I can only laugh at the ignorance when someone screws that around and causes (or tries to) panic about a National Health Care system and how evil it is because just look at Canada... "they don't have access to Avastin" (a drug all Cancer patients are aware of).... and they take that from an old story back when Avastin was first new on the scene.

    Those same people don't mention how there are people right here on CSN who have gotten really depressed because they are losing their house, their private health care insurance is expiring and they don't know how they are going to carry on with their treatments or get to see their doctors. Uh, not one of them is Canadian, just for the record. For some reason those stories don't get the same focus or importance as repeating stories about how horrid Canada's "Government Run" Health care is.

    Well, as a Canadian, I wouldn't change my horrid Canadian Healthcare Insurance for any other insurance coverage. I have been fighting this battle as a Stage IV cancer patient for 3 years now... and my grand total out of pocket has been $212 for TV rental when I was in the hospital for my various surgeries. I am not broke, I'm on LTD (I was lucky enough to be working for a company that had LTD as an employee benefit) and I'm doing really really well all things considered (haven't had to be on chemo since Oct 2007).

    Here is an interesting post from another board... from a fellow in San Francisco (yes, he is an American, this is not Canadian propaganda):

    I don't know why we keep pretending that our health care system is superior to that of Canada.

    Theirs is universal. Ours is not.

    We have pre-existing disease restrictions. They do not.

    They rank No. 8 in average life expectancy. We rank No. 34.

    ** SOURCE: CIA World Factbook, 2009 **

    To be precisely up to date:

    US average life expectancy: 78.11 years
    Canadian average life expectancy: 81.23 years

    This is the difference between health care for profit, and health care for people. We believe that cancer is a profit center. They believe it is a disease.

    The US offers much of which to be deeply proud. Compared to Canada? Our health care is simply not in the same league.

    The best proof? THEY LIVE LONGER THAN WE DO. Doubt it? Just ask the CIA. And then visit them in Vancouver, and see one of the cleanest and most beautiful cities in the world.

    We're not the only people who know how to do things right.

    +++++
  • PGLGreg
    PGLGreg Member Posts: 731
    usakat said:

    Why are cancer drugs so expensive?
    According to a New York Times article, Genentech and it’s partner Roche, spent over $2.25 billion on research and development (formulate, manufacture, patents, FDA approvals, extensive testing and trials, mass production, and marketing) to bring the life extending – life saving drug Avastin to market for stage IV colon cancer patient use. Genentech and Roche planned to spend an additional $1 billion to test Avastin for treatment of earlier stage colon cancers. Protocols for testing and trials are required and regulated by U. S. Food and Drug Administration - FDA.

    Costly Cancer Drug Offers Hope, but Also a Dilemma

    California Biomedical Research Association reports that it takes on average 12 years for pharmaceuticals to move from the first stage of laboratory research to approval for wide spread patient use. They also report that a mere ten percent of drugs developed in a laboratory ever reach human clinical trials, and only one percent is ultimately approved for human use. Thomas Edison said about his invention, the light bulb, “I haven't failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work.” Developing pharmaceuticals, especially cancer drugs and the new biologic drugs, is very much like Edison’s development of the light bulb.

    New Drug Development Process Fact Sheet

    As for me, I’m grateful that the really smart people we rely on to develop new life saving cancer treatments forge ahead in spite of frustrating failure rates and bring more promising treatments to cancer patients every year. I’m grateful there are companies out there like Genentech and Roche, and Sanofi-Aventis - Sanofi-Aventis tested and produced the Oxaliplatin and Roche developed, tested and produced the Xeloda I took for my cancer. It is because of their innovation, investment and dedication that many, many cancer patients are living longer and many have been completely cured. As for me, this January will mark my third year cancer free and as a person with HNPCC / Lynch Syndrome, who very likely will face cancer again, I’m counting on the continuing innovation that will help extend my life and the lives of my family who also have HNPCC. I’m also hoping and praying that the exciting innovation we’ve witnessed the last several years will continue full steam ahead so that many here at CSN and elsewhere might finally get that life saving treatment they have waited and prayed for.

    How many here have been on Avastin? Oxaliplatin? Erbitux? Are you grateful to those investors who made it possible for scientists and pharmaceutical companies to make those drugs available for yours or your family or friends’ use? Where would we be if we didn’t have those drugs? I know my grandmother who died of metastatic colon cancer, as well as her younger sister who also died from colon cancer, didn’t have the choices, the options, and the hope we have today.

    The Wall Street Journal interviewed Genentech’s CEO, biochemist Dr. Arthur D. Levinson, who sheds some light on drug pricing, specifically Avastin, from the manufacturer’s point of view (see attached link). Last month Bioworld Today reported the profit margin for Genentech’s Avastin is approximately 20%. That 20% profit margin allows Genentech to further their research and development efforts with Avastin and other new promising drugs and treatments. (On a personal note, I worked for the construction company that built Genentech’s manufacturing facility for Avastin – the construction cost was $380 million taking over 2.9 million man hours to complete = $380 million for one building for one drug - Avastin).

    How Genentech Wins At Blockbuster Drugs

    Dr. Levinson is quoted in the Wall Street Interview, “…you can audit our books. Our margins are respectable, but not off the chart. They are not Microsoft margins; they are not Oracle's margins, even.”

    Apple’s profit margin for their iPod products range from 40% to nearly 75%. Even with huge profit margins people line up to get their hands on the latest models, often lining up the night before release dates, camping on sidewalks to receive the latest in iPod innovation. And guess what? There are no picket signs or demands to Apple to lower their prices to the public. In fact this holiday’s gift giving season, just like the last several years, iPod will be a leading gift given and received without protest.

    As for potato chips? Frito Lay is enjoying approximately 25% profit this year, representing 63% of sales and 60% profit for Frito Lay’s parent company, PepsiCo. Why aren’t we railing against Chester Cheetah, Frito Kid or W.C. Frito?

    As for the difference of drug costs between Canada and the U. S., a large factor is that Canada uses price fixing, so pharmaceutical companies negotiate their rates for Canadians, while in the U. S. the prices are negotiated and set by reimbursable rates from insurance companies, and Medicare and Medicaid. When Avastin was new to the market Canadian patients did not have access to it because it was refused by the Canadian government ( Nova Scotia Rejects Funding for Avastin ). While the Canadian government eventually approved Avastin for use, patients pay for it themselves, unless they have purchased their own prescription drug plan. One of our members here at CSN, Wanda23, turned to fundraising to help pay for her mother’s Avastain in Canada. Sadly, Wanda’s mom died last year on February 26 – you can view her story at youtube.com. For the approximately 85% of Americans who do have insurance and prescription drug coverage, they pay far less direct out of pocket costs than the Canadians do for drugs like Avastin.

    There is a lot of discussion going on in Washington about streamlining FDA approvals for follow on generics and reducing the exclusivity timeline for pharmaceuticals, however in the case of biologic drugs like Avastin it’s not such a clear cut solution to simply allow competitors early access to proprietary formularies. Due to the complexity of producing the biologics and the risk of diminishing the necessary incentives for companies to produce them means any legislative intervention could have drastic negative effects on innovation if not done with consideration for the inventor of the biologic.

    To me it seems like an easy solution, allow the inventors/investors 100% recovery of R&D and provide patent/formulary sharing for a price in order to inspire competition among the biotech companies, but unfortunately Washington doesn’t work that way. Sadly, in the U. S. the pay to play paradigm is alive and well in Washington, with politicians on both sides of the aisle getting their palms greased and pockets padded by big business. Just ask the board of directors for the Ted Kennedy Library, Congresswoman Eshoo (D) of California, Max Baucus (D) of Montana, Trent Lott (R) of Mississippi, President George Bush, and one of the biggest beneficiaries from big pharma, President Barack Obama.

    Solutions for lowering healthcare costs that will in turn provide greater access and greater coverage must be a multi-faceted approach with corrections / legislation to numerous market sectors. A single massive sweeping piece of legislation that mandates every American purchase healthcare insurance and growing government to get it done will not solve the problems. Until we remove the financial incentives to politicians we can never hope the interests of the public at large will be honestly served.

    Yes, cancer treatment drugs do indeed come with a hefty price tag – they cost a king’s ransom to develop, to manufacture, and produce, and certainly patients pay for it. I suppose if lives are saved we can consider it worth it, but it’s sad that wrapped up in that price is paying off self serving politicians.

    More Links:
    Why Biologics Remain Expensive
    Pfizer and Amgen Trade “Political” Places
    AEI - When Patents Are Not Enough

    Free markets.
    While I am more or less in sympathy with usakat's conclusions, it seems very odd to me that she feels she needs to justify the high prices of some cancer medications by the work and investment that were required to produce them. Suppose a medication that could save my life required very little work or investment to produce, would it be worth less to me, and so, should I pay less? I just want to save my life. I don't accept that medications are worth more only when they cost more to produce.

    --Greg
  • usakat
    usakat Member Posts: 610
    usakat said:

    Why are cancer drugs so expensive?
    According to a New York Times article, Genentech and it’s partner Roche, spent over $2.25 billion on research and development (formulate, manufacture, patents, FDA approvals, extensive testing and trials, mass production, and marketing) to bring the life extending – life saving drug Avastin to market for stage IV colon cancer patient use. Genentech and Roche planned to spend an additional $1 billion to test Avastin for treatment of earlier stage colon cancers. Protocols for testing and trials are required and regulated by U. S. Food and Drug Administration - FDA.

    Costly Cancer Drug Offers Hope, but Also a Dilemma

    California Biomedical Research Association reports that it takes on average 12 years for pharmaceuticals to move from the first stage of laboratory research to approval for wide spread patient use. They also report that a mere ten percent of drugs developed in a laboratory ever reach human clinical trials, and only one percent is ultimately approved for human use. Thomas Edison said about his invention, the light bulb, “I haven't failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work.” Developing pharmaceuticals, especially cancer drugs and the new biologic drugs, is very much like Edison’s development of the light bulb.

    New Drug Development Process Fact Sheet

    As for me, I’m grateful that the really smart people we rely on to develop new life saving cancer treatments forge ahead in spite of frustrating failure rates and bring more promising treatments to cancer patients every year. I’m grateful there are companies out there like Genentech and Roche, and Sanofi-Aventis - Sanofi-Aventis tested and produced the Oxaliplatin and Roche developed, tested and produced the Xeloda I took for my cancer. It is because of their innovation, investment and dedication that many, many cancer patients are living longer and many have been completely cured. As for me, this January will mark my third year cancer free and as a person with HNPCC / Lynch Syndrome, who very likely will face cancer again, I’m counting on the continuing innovation that will help extend my life and the lives of my family who also have HNPCC. I’m also hoping and praying that the exciting innovation we’ve witnessed the last several years will continue full steam ahead so that many here at CSN and elsewhere might finally get that life saving treatment they have waited and prayed for.

    How many here have been on Avastin? Oxaliplatin? Erbitux? Are you grateful to those investors who made it possible for scientists and pharmaceutical companies to make those drugs available for yours or your family or friends’ use? Where would we be if we didn’t have those drugs? I know my grandmother who died of metastatic colon cancer, as well as her younger sister who also died from colon cancer, didn’t have the choices, the options, and the hope we have today.

    The Wall Street Journal interviewed Genentech’s CEO, biochemist Dr. Arthur D. Levinson, who sheds some light on drug pricing, specifically Avastin, from the manufacturer’s point of view (see attached link). Last month Bioworld Today reported the profit margin for Genentech’s Avastin is approximately 20%. That 20% profit margin allows Genentech to further their research and development efforts with Avastin and other new promising drugs and treatments. (On a personal note, I worked for the construction company that built Genentech’s manufacturing facility for Avastin – the construction cost was $380 million taking over 2.9 million man hours to complete = $380 million for one building for one drug - Avastin).

    How Genentech Wins At Blockbuster Drugs

    Dr. Levinson is quoted in the Wall Street Interview, “…you can audit our books. Our margins are respectable, but not off the chart. They are not Microsoft margins; they are not Oracle's margins, even.”

    Apple’s profit margin for their iPod products range from 40% to nearly 75%. Even with huge profit margins people line up to get their hands on the latest models, often lining up the night before release dates, camping on sidewalks to receive the latest in iPod innovation. And guess what? There are no picket signs or demands to Apple to lower their prices to the public. In fact this holiday’s gift giving season, just like the last several years, iPod will be a leading gift given and received without protest.

    As for potato chips? Frito Lay is enjoying approximately 25% profit this year, representing 63% of sales and 60% profit for Frito Lay’s parent company, PepsiCo. Why aren’t we railing against Chester Cheetah, Frito Kid or W.C. Frito?

    As for the difference of drug costs between Canada and the U. S., a large factor is that Canada uses price fixing, so pharmaceutical companies negotiate their rates for Canadians, while in the U. S. the prices are negotiated and set by reimbursable rates from insurance companies, and Medicare and Medicaid. When Avastin was new to the market Canadian patients did not have access to it because it was refused by the Canadian government ( Nova Scotia Rejects Funding for Avastin ). While the Canadian government eventually approved Avastin for use, patients pay for it themselves, unless they have purchased their own prescription drug plan. One of our members here at CSN, Wanda23, turned to fundraising to help pay for her mother’s Avastain in Canada. Sadly, Wanda’s mom died last year on February 26 – you can view her story at youtube.com. For the approximately 85% of Americans who do have insurance and prescription drug coverage, they pay far less direct out of pocket costs than the Canadians do for drugs like Avastin.

    There is a lot of discussion going on in Washington about streamlining FDA approvals for follow on generics and reducing the exclusivity timeline for pharmaceuticals, however in the case of biologic drugs like Avastin it’s not such a clear cut solution to simply allow competitors early access to proprietary formularies. Due to the complexity of producing the biologics and the risk of diminishing the necessary incentives for companies to produce them means any legislative intervention could have drastic negative effects on innovation if not done with consideration for the inventor of the biologic.

    To me it seems like an easy solution, allow the inventors/investors 100% recovery of R&D and provide patent/formulary sharing for a price in order to inspire competition among the biotech companies, but unfortunately Washington doesn’t work that way. Sadly, in the U. S. the pay to play paradigm is alive and well in Washington, with politicians on both sides of the aisle getting their palms greased and pockets padded by big business. Just ask the board of directors for the Ted Kennedy Library, Congresswoman Eshoo (D) of California, Max Baucus (D) of Montana, Trent Lott (R) of Mississippi, President George Bush, and one of the biggest beneficiaries from big pharma, President Barack Obama.

    Solutions for lowering healthcare costs that will in turn provide greater access and greater coverage must be a multi-faceted approach with corrections / legislation to numerous market sectors. A single massive sweeping piece of legislation that mandates every American purchase healthcare insurance and growing government to get it done will not solve the problems. Until we remove the financial incentives to politicians we can never hope the interests of the public at large will be honestly served.

    Yes, cancer treatment drugs do indeed come with a hefty price tag – they cost a king’s ransom to develop, to manufacture, and produce, and certainly patients pay for it. I suppose if lives are saved we can consider it worth it, but it’s sad that wrapped up in that price is paying off self serving politicians.

    More Links:
    Why Biologics Remain Expensive
    Pfizer and Amgen Trade “Political” Places
    AEI - When Patents Are Not Enough

    My Links Didn't Work - Check these out....
    These are all good articles that provide accurate information / reporting on drug costs from reputable sources:

    Costly Cancer Drug Offers Hope, but Also a Dilemma

    New Drug Development Process Fact Sheet

    How Genentech Wins At Blockbuster Drugs

    Apple Profit Margin on iPod

    PepsiCo

    Nova Scotia Rejects Funding for Avastin

    Wanda23 Youtube Video

    More Links:
    Why Biologics Remain Expensive
    Pfizer and Amgen Trade “Political” Places
    When Patents Are Not Enough
  • CherylHutch
    CherylHutch Member Posts: 1,375
    usakat said:
    Avastin
    Kat, it would be kind of nice and the correct thing to do, when referring to Canada, you post updated links. You have mentioned on more than one occasion how horrible it is that the province of Nova Scotia does not cover funding for Avastin (insinuating this is a problem across Canada blaming National Healthcare) ... of course, the link you love to use is one from April 2007... 2 1/2 years ago. Even you, Kat, know that things constantly change... especially in 2 1/2 years.

    Nova Scotia actually did start funding Avastin 100% and has been covering it since April 2008, for almost 2 years now -- http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2008/08/15/avastin-details.html?ref=rss -- so I really think you can put this example and attempt to stir up the horrors of the Canadian medical system to rest. Avastin was still a new drug in 2007 and yes, some of the smaller provinces wanted to see more proof that this was worthwhile, since they are much smaller than the rest of the provinces in Canada but are still responsible for their medical budget. So a whole 6 months went by before they jumped on the bandwagon too and have been funding anyone who needs Avastin 100%. Bad Canada!! Bad! Bad! Bad! ;)
  • KATE58
    KATE58 Member Posts: 299
    PGLGreg said:

    Free markets.
    While I am more or less in sympathy with usakat's conclusions, it seems very odd to me that she feels she needs to justify the high prices of some cancer medications by the work and investment that were required to produce them. Suppose a medication that could save my life required very little work or investment to produce, would it be worth less to me, and so, should I pay less? I just want to save my life. I don't accept that medications are worth more only when they cost more to produce.

    --Greg

    Altho drugs can be expensive
    Altho drugs can be expensive to research and formulate,
    many drug companies get research grants to allay the costs,
    and once a drug has been developed the pharmicutical co that developed it,
    holds an exclusivity patent on that drug for some times 5-10 years.
    Until the patent expires, no one else can manufacture and sell that drug,
    so the 'Brand Name' will be very expensive,but as soon as the patent has expired
    the 'generic' version will be very cheap.

    an example is before a generic 'Zofran' ,I lost my pills and to replace them out of pocket I was told they cost $28 a pill ( x's 30) yes TWENTY EIGHT DOLLARS A PILL !!
    Now there is a generic, ondansetron hcl , which costs about .35 CENTS A PILL. YES,THIRTY FIVE CENTS.

    25 years ago I worked for MERCK ,SHARPE & DOHME in North Wales Pa.( in accounting)the people who swept the floor made $25 an hour ,and you could not even get an interview unless you had a relative or a close friend who recomended you.

    Also,the pharmacutical companies will not even bother to research or develope something made
    of 'natural ingredients 'because they cannot be patented,so there would not be BIG profits.
    ( keep in mind asperin used to come from a plant growing in the woods and digitalis used to come from the flower foxglove-now they are synthetic)
    Sorry for the rant, but I think drug companies only care about profits,and don't care who gets screwed.(why all the drug 'recalls'?)
  • usakat
    usakat Member Posts: 610

    Avastin
    Kat, it would be kind of nice and the correct thing to do, when referring to Canada, you post updated links. You have mentioned on more than one occasion how horrible it is that the province of Nova Scotia does not cover funding for Avastin (insinuating this is a problem across Canada blaming National Healthcare) ... of course, the link you love to use is one from April 2007... 2 1/2 years ago. Even you, Kat, know that things constantly change... especially in 2 1/2 years.

    Nova Scotia actually did start funding Avastin 100% and has been covering it since April 2008, for almost 2 years now -- http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2008/08/15/avastin-details.html?ref=rss -- so I really think you can put this example and attempt to stir up the horrors of the Canadian medical system to rest. Avastin was still a new drug in 2007 and yes, some of the smaller provinces wanted to see more proof that this was worthwhile, since they are much smaller than the rest of the provinces in Canada but are still responsible for their medical budget. So a whole 6 months went by before they jumped on the bandwagon too and have been funding anyone who needs Avastin 100%. Bad Canada!! Bad! Bad! Bad! ;)

    A quote from my post....
    "While the Canadian government eventually approved Avastin for use, [many ]patients pay for it themselves, unless they purchase their own prescription drug plan. One of our members here at CSN, Wanda23, turned to fundraising to help pay for her mother’s Avastain in Canada. Sadly, Wanda’s mom died last year on February 26 – you can view her story at youtube.com." (see her at the link below).

    You can also check out Wanda's reaching out for advice for fundraising to get Avastin for her mom. It was very heartbreaking what Wanda and her family went through, most especially for her mom, Betty. Many blessings to Wanda and her family for comfort and healing, and many blessings for peace and everlasting love for Betty.

    CSN - What is the cost of Avastin

    The point in my writing Cheryl, was not to poke the hornet's nest here or to justify why big pharma charges so much for drugs, but rather to offer some insight as to why cancer drugs are expensive HERE in the U. S. Currently there is so much misleading information among the masses here that serves to do nothing more than to confuse people. It's easy for us to blame corporate greed while our politician's have their fingers deep in the profit pie from big corporations/big pharma, and as we buy into that lie we still pay big bucks for treatments. How many people could have enjoyed a full course of Avastin here in the U. S. for the campaign contribution of $636,000?

    BTW Cheryl: I don't recall that I've ever mentioned that Avastin is not covered in Canada, but perhaps I'm suffering latent chemo brain...
  • John23
    John23 Member Posts: 2,122
    usakat said:

    Why are cancer drugs so expensive?
    According to a New York Times article, Genentech and it’s partner Roche, spent over $2.25 billion on research and development (formulate, manufacture, patents, FDA approvals, extensive testing and trials, mass production, and marketing) to bring the life extending – life saving drug Avastin to market for stage IV colon cancer patient use. Genentech and Roche planned to spend an additional $1 billion to test Avastin for treatment of earlier stage colon cancers. Protocols for testing and trials are required and regulated by U. S. Food and Drug Administration - FDA.

    Costly Cancer Drug Offers Hope, but Also a Dilemma

    California Biomedical Research Association reports that it takes on average 12 years for pharmaceuticals to move from the first stage of laboratory research to approval for wide spread patient use. They also report that a mere ten percent of drugs developed in a laboratory ever reach human clinical trials, and only one percent is ultimately approved for human use. Thomas Edison said about his invention, the light bulb, “I haven't failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work.” Developing pharmaceuticals, especially cancer drugs and the new biologic drugs, is very much like Edison’s development of the light bulb.

    New Drug Development Process Fact Sheet

    As for me, I’m grateful that the really smart people we rely on to develop new life saving cancer treatments forge ahead in spite of frustrating failure rates and bring more promising treatments to cancer patients every year. I’m grateful there are companies out there like Genentech and Roche, and Sanofi-Aventis - Sanofi-Aventis tested and produced the Oxaliplatin and Roche developed, tested and produced the Xeloda I took for my cancer. It is because of their innovation, investment and dedication that many, many cancer patients are living longer and many have been completely cured. As for me, this January will mark my third year cancer free and as a person with HNPCC / Lynch Syndrome, who very likely will face cancer again, I’m counting on the continuing innovation that will help extend my life and the lives of my family who also have HNPCC. I’m also hoping and praying that the exciting innovation we’ve witnessed the last several years will continue full steam ahead so that many here at CSN and elsewhere might finally get that life saving treatment they have waited and prayed for.

    How many here have been on Avastin? Oxaliplatin? Erbitux? Are you grateful to those investors who made it possible for scientists and pharmaceutical companies to make those drugs available for yours or your family or friends’ use? Where would we be if we didn’t have those drugs? I know my grandmother who died of metastatic colon cancer, as well as her younger sister who also died from colon cancer, didn’t have the choices, the options, and the hope we have today.

    The Wall Street Journal interviewed Genentech’s CEO, biochemist Dr. Arthur D. Levinson, who sheds some light on drug pricing, specifically Avastin, from the manufacturer’s point of view (see attached link). Last month Bioworld Today reported the profit margin for Genentech’s Avastin is approximately 20%. That 20% profit margin allows Genentech to further their research and development efforts with Avastin and other new promising drugs and treatments. (On a personal note, I worked for the construction company that built Genentech’s manufacturing facility for Avastin – the construction cost was $380 million taking over 2.9 million man hours to complete = $380 million for one building for one drug - Avastin).

    How Genentech Wins At Blockbuster Drugs

    Dr. Levinson is quoted in the Wall Street Interview, “…you can audit our books. Our margins are respectable, but not off the chart. They are not Microsoft margins; they are not Oracle's margins, even.”

    Apple’s profit margin for their iPod products range from 40% to nearly 75%. Even with huge profit margins people line up to get their hands on the latest models, often lining up the night before release dates, camping on sidewalks to receive the latest in iPod innovation. And guess what? There are no picket signs or demands to Apple to lower their prices to the public. In fact this holiday’s gift giving season, just like the last several years, iPod will be a leading gift given and received without protest.

    As for potato chips? Frito Lay is enjoying approximately 25% profit this year, representing 63% of sales and 60% profit for Frito Lay’s parent company, PepsiCo. Why aren’t we railing against Chester Cheetah, Frito Kid or W.C. Frito?

    As for the difference of drug costs between Canada and the U. S., a large factor is that Canada uses price fixing, so pharmaceutical companies negotiate their rates for Canadians, while in the U. S. the prices are negotiated and set by reimbursable rates from insurance companies, and Medicare and Medicaid. When Avastin was new to the market Canadian patients did not have access to it because it was refused by the Canadian government ( Nova Scotia Rejects Funding for Avastin ). While the Canadian government eventually approved Avastin for use, patients pay for it themselves, unless they have purchased their own prescription drug plan. One of our members here at CSN, Wanda23, turned to fundraising to help pay for her mother’s Avastain in Canada. Sadly, Wanda’s mom died last year on February 26 – you can view her story at youtube.com. For the approximately 85% of Americans who do have insurance and prescription drug coverage, they pay far less direct out of pocket costs than the Canadians do for drugs like Avastin.

    There is a lot of discussion going on in Washington about streamlining FDA approvals for follow on generics and reducing the exclusivity timeline for pharmaceuticals, however in the case of biologic drugs like Avastin it’s not such a clear cut solution to simply allow competitors early access to proprietary formularies. Due to the complexity of producing the biologics and the risk of diminishing the necessary incentives for companies to produce them means any legislative intervention could have drastic negative effects on innovation if not done with consideration for the inventor of the biologic.

    To me it seems like an easy solution, allow the inventors/investors 100% recovery of R&D and provide patent/formulary sharing for a price in order to inspire competition among the biotech companies, but unfortunately Washington doesn’t work that way. Sadly, in the U. S. the pay to play paradigm is alive and well in Washington, with politicians on both sides of the aisle getting their palms greased and pockets padded by big business. Just ask the board of directors for the Ted Kennedy Library, Congresswoman Eshoo (D) of California, Max Baucus (D) of Montana, Trent Lott (R) of Mississippi, President George Bush, and one of the biggest beneficiaries from big pharma, President Barack Obama.

    Solutions for lowering healthcare costs that will in turn provide greater access and greater coverage must be a multi-faceted approach with corrections / legislation to numerous market sectors. A single massive sweeping piece of legislation that mandates every American purchase healthcare insurance and growing government to get it done will not solve the problems. Until we remove the financial incentives to politicians we can never hope the interests of the public at large will be honestly served.

    Yes, cancer treatment drugs do indeed come with a hefty price tag – they cost a king’s ransom to develop, to manufacture, and produce, and certainly patients pay for it. I suppose if lives are saved we can consider it worth it, but it’s sad that wrapped up in that price is paying off self serving politicians.

    More Links:
    Why Biologics Remain Expensive
    Pfizer and Amgen Trade “Political” Places
    AEI - When Patents Are Not Enough

    Wow, Kat!


    Does the political propaganda run heavy here!

    I seriously doubt it's "chemo brain", since all of my right wing friends
    sing the same mantra.

    Personally, I find it humorous; I am happy that my vote will
    cancel yours. (ha ha)


    Stay well.
  • usakat
    usakat Member Posts: 610
    John23 said:

    Wow, Kat!


    Does the political propaganda run heavy here!

    I seriously doubt it's "chemo brain", since all of my right wing friends
    sing the same mantra.

    Personally, I find it humorous; I am happy that my vote will
    cancel yours. (ha ha)


    Stay well.

    Wow, John! I guess you can call me a heretic...
    ....please put down the matches!

    Fact vs. Propaganda

    John, there is a huge difference between facts and propaganda. Pointing out there is more to the story of corporate greed that results in higher drug pricing is not propaganda, but rather an attempt to show there is far more to the story than corporate greed making a buck off sick people. Check out the story of Dennis Slamon, M. D., PhD (Google his name) - not everyone in drug development, medicine, healthcare, and the biotech industry are motivated by cold hard cash. To suggest so is to insult and diminish the important work of many people who labor tirelessly for the benefit of cancer patients.

    Additionally, there was nothing "right wing" about my post - in fact, it was very non-partisan since I pointed out that both sides of the political spectrum have their hands in the deep pockets of big pharma. In fact, in the 2008 election cycle there was more than $166 million in campaign contributions to candidates of both political parties given by the healthcare industry. $166 million could pay for a lot of Avastin for a lot of cancer patients. This practice of "pay to play" leads to corporate and political corruption and the people who lose are the consumers, or in the case of cancer patients, us. Check out the top twenty 2008 healthcare industry campaign contribution recipients.

    As for me, I am NOT a right wing banner carrier. I am Libertarian - I support fiscal responsibility and social freedom. I reject large government that replaces individual rights and responsibilities with government policy, I reject reckless spending of taxpayer money that serves government more than citizens, I reject archaic social and legal mores or excessive government intrusion that does not allow individuals to live their own private lives. Further I believe it's our responsibility as citizens to pay attention to our elected officials and seek out facts, not propaganda perpetrated by biased media and political rhetoric, in order to ensure the integrity of our democracy. We all have the choice to buy into the propaganda and rhetoric, or to seek out our own facts and form our own opinions, and we can do it without insulting each other.

    I have never wished to block any reform to the healthcare industry, it's just I like to hope that the American people can be well served by the people we have elected to represent us and that any legislation that is enacted is for the sole benefit of the individual American citizen - not big business or big government. When there is so much money changing hands (campaign contributions) it leads to corruption - just check out the 2010 campaign contributions and ask yourself who exactly is being served in the current proposed legislation. Is Harry Reid representing YOUR best interest?
  • Paula G.
    Paula G. Member Posts: 596

    Thank you, Kate58!
    Hey Kate58, we have never met here on CSN... it's been awhile since I participated on these boards. Too many politics got involved with some folk feeling they know a lot more than others and making sure they let them know it. I don't have time for that kind of nonsense and it was real thick in here for some time, so I ended up leaving and taking my chats elsewhere ;)

    But I have noticed a few of your posts here on the boards (I've been searching for a CSN friend to get her email address)... and I just had to say that you are such a breath of fresh air! I love your smile... and what you have to say has been so along the lines of what I believe myself :)

    Sorry, I haven't seen your post for when you first joined but am assuming that you are one of us semi-colons, which I'm sorry to hear, but hey... the fact you've found others in a similar predicament, all I can say is "Welcome aboard!!"

    As for the whole drug thing... I'll be the first to say I don't really understand the ins and outs and politics of the pharmaceutical industry. I do know a heck of a lot of drugs, both anti-cancer and anti-everything else are manufactured in the USA. On the other hand, I also know a lot of these same US companies have plants here in Canada and they are manufactured here as well. Also, Canada has some of their own plants and manufacture a bunch of meds that aren't produced in the States but are exported to the States (I think there's a lot of importing/exporting that goes on in both countries). What the deals are made between the two countries, or more important I think, what the deals are made between the pharmaceutical giants, I don't know... but I can report as a Canadian living in the province of BC what the access is to drugs... and from a patient's perspective, the cost is not our concern.

    Yes, there are all these stories that pop up about Canadians dying, waiing for treatments (such exaggeration). One of the popular ones in the "Cancer" circles is that Canadians can't get certain cancer fighting drugs, one of the popular ones being "Avastin". Well, I'm a Canadian and I'm fighting cancer ... and no matter what drug my oncologist prescribes, I get it. There is NEVER any wait because someone has said it's not available or, as a Canadian, I'm not eligible for it.

    Oh, I did have one wait... back when I was on the 5FU pump and then was going to be doing 6 weeks of daily radiation. My onc wanted to change me from the pump to the oral pill. My extended health plan (yes, I have one of those... it's Blue Cross, a private insurance company, not unlike those down in the US. As a matter of fact, I think Blue Cross IS a US company) balked at paying for the oral pill form... after all, they were paying for me to be on the 5FU pump, so why should they now pay for the oral form? Yes, the oral form is expensive. So they figured our provincial Medical Services Plan (government subsidized) should cover the cost. So there was some back and forth discussion between the government subsidized plan and the private insurance as to WHO was going to pay for it. There was NEVER any discussion about "Well, screw it, we aren't going to pay for it, so the patient will have to cover the cost". And to think I got frustrated because the two of them were hashing it out, while I was actually taking the medication and getting my zaps of radiation every day. In the end, the private insurance company ended up paying for it, since it was just a continuation of the chemo I was on before the radiation and would be going back to after the radiation treatments were through.

    So because of stories like the above, those who are against National healthcare LOVE to alter the stories to say how horrid National Healthcare is... even though it was the private insurance company that started the disagreement in the first place (their argument was that if I, the patient DIDN'T have the Extended Health coverage, the government subsidized insurance would have to cover it, so they should cover it now)

    YES, of course, there is going to be the occasional person who falls through the system... whether the fault of their doctors not pursuing it, or their condition is such that any kind of delay ends up being deadly. Just try and tell me this doesn't happen in the US? And yes, because each PROVINCE manages their own Provincial Healthcare system, you will find differences between provinces. What is available in BC may not be available in Ontario... but because of the Canadian Healthcare Act, all Canadians get equal access to basic medical care and treatments. When a new drug first comes out on the scene, it's not unusual that one province may have access and approve it before another province. All depends on supply and demand and god knows what other decisions are made.

    So I can only laugh at the ignorance when someone screws that around and causes (or tries to) panic about a National Health Care system and how evil it is because just look at Canada... "they don't have access to Avastin" (a drug all Cancer patients are aware of).... and they take that from an old story back when Avastin was first new on the scene.

    Those same people don't mention how there are people right here on CSN who have gotten really depressed because they are losing their house, their private health care insurance is expiring and they don't know how they are going to carry on with their treatments or get to see their doctors. Uh, not one of them is Canadian, just for the record. For some reason those stories don't get the same focus or importance as repeating stories about how horrid Canada's "Government Run" Health care is.

    Well, as a Canadian, I wouldn't change my horrid Canadian Healthcare Insurance for any other insurance coverage. I have been fighting this battle as a Stage IV cancer patient for 3 years now... and my grand total out of pocket has been $212 for TV rental when I was in the hospital for my various surgeries. I am not broke, I'm on LTD (I was lucky enough to be working for a company that had LTD as an employee benefit) and I'm doing really really well all things considered (haven't had to be on chemo since Oct 2007).

    Here is an interesting post from another board... from a fellow in San Francisco (yes, he is an American, this is not Canadian propaganda):

    I don't know why we keep pretending that our health care system is superior to that of Canada.

    Theirs is universal. Ours is not.

    We have pre-existing disease restrictions. They do not.

    They rank No. 8 in average life expectancy. We rank No. 34.

    ** SOURCE: CIA World Factbook, 2009 **

    To be precisely up to date:

    US average life expectancy: 78.11 years
    Canadian average life expectancy: 81.23 years

    This is the difference between health care for profit, and health care for people. We believe that cancer is a profit center. They believe it is a disease.

    The US offers much of which to be deeply proud. Compared to Canada? Our health care is simply not in the same league.

    The best proof? THEY LIVE LONGER THAN WE DO. Doubt it? Just ask the CIA. And then visit them in Vancouver, and see one of the cleanest and most beautiful cities in the world.

    We're not the only people who know how to do things right.

    +++++

    Your Back
    Glad to see you back on the board Cheryl. I've missed you. Paula
  • PhillieG
    PhillieG Member Posts: 4,866
    KATE58 said:

    All I can say is I am on
    All I can say is I am on medicare a 'GOVERNMENT RUN INSURANCE' and I have gotten better care
    than I ever did on private insurance, which was always turning down treatments or drugs as too expensive.Medicare has never once even questioned a treatment or drug.
    60% of the U.S population is on government insurance already.
    The poor get help,the rich can afford to pay their own way,the middle class gets screwed.

    Kate
    I love your response!
    -phil
  • PhillieG
    PhillieG Member Posts: 4,866
    $30,000-a-Month Cancer Drug
    and they don't even deliver it, I have to go in and get it!
  • John23
    John23 Member Posts: 2,122
    usakat said:

    Wow, John! I guess you can call me a heretic...
    ....please put down the matches!

    Fact vs. Propaganda

    John, there is a huge difference between facts and propaganda. Pointing out there is more to the story of corporate greed that results in higher drug pricing is not propaganda, but rather an attempt to show there is far more to the story than corporate greed making a buck off sick people. Check out the story of Dennis Slamon, M. D., PhD (Google his name) - not everyone in drug development, medicine, healthcare, and the biotech industry are motivated by cold hard cash. To suggest so is to insult and diminish the important work of many people who labor tirelessly for the benefit of cancer patients.

    Additionally, there was nothing "right wing" about my post - in fact, it was very non-partisan since I pointed out that both sides of the political spectrum have their hands in the deep pockets of big pharma. In fact, in the 2008 election cycle there was more than $166 million in campaign contributions to candidates of both political parties given by the healthcare industry. $166 million could pay for a lot of Avastin for a lot of cancer patients. This practice of "pay to play" leads to corporate and political corruption and the people who lose are the consumers, or in the case of cancer patients, us. Check out the top twenty 2008 healthcare industry campaign contribution recipients.

    As for me, I am NOT a right wing banner carrier. I am Libertarian - I support fiscal responsibility and social freedom. I reject large government that replaces individual rights and responsibilities with government policy, I reject reckless spending of taxpayer money that serves government more than citizens, I reject archaic social and legal mores or excessive government intrusion that does not allow individuals to live their own private lives. Further I believe it's our responsibility as citizens to pay attention to our elected officials and seek out facts, not propaganda perpetrated by biased media and political rhetoric, in order to ensure the integrity of our democracy. We all have the choice to buy into the propaganda and rhetoric, or to seek out our own facts and form our own opinions, and we can do it without insulting each other.

    I have never wished to block any reform to the healthcare industry, it's just I like to hope that the American people can be well served by the people we have elected to represent us and that any legislation that is enacted is for the sole benefit of the individual American citizen - not big business or big government. When there is so much money changing hands (campaign contributions) it leads to corruption - just check out the 2010 campaign contributions and ask yourself who exactly is being served in the current proposed legislation. Is Harry Reid representing YOUR best interest?

    Ok.
    Re:
    "-Additionally, there was nothing "right wing" about my post "
    "-it was very non-partisan "
    "-In fact, in the 2008 election cycle there was more than $166 million in campaign contributions "
    "-I am NOT a right wing banner carrier"
    "-seek out facts, not propaganda perpetrated by biased media"

    And at last, but not least, the most formidable non-partisan comment of comments:

    "Is Harry Reid representing YOUR best interest?"

    Harry Reid: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Reid
    (Yes, I think he does, ma'am'; quite a bit, actually. Thank you.)

    This forum is for all of us to discuss our times and troubles with cancer.

    Political rants are best served at other more "non-partisan" forums
    such as "www.freerepublic.com" and/or the many other fine "open-minded"
    "non-partisan" web sites available.

    All this political banter serves to do, is divide into groups, those of
    us that should be more solidly banding together.

    I personally (and very regrettably) voted for the "bushes" both times,
    for both generations. I have watched in horror, eight years of actions
    that took this country into the pits of hell.

    For six of those eight years the conservative party had total, absolute
    control. Yet the surplus we had, and the deficit we didn't have has
    been reversed. Health care has taken a tumble, along with the entire
    economy. Those in power for six years (and for the remaining two
    years that their votes were still required), did absolutely nothing.

    And now, with less than one year of control, our new President and
    his administration is being said to be fools by the same crew that
    had the power, and did -absolutely nothing-, for eight years.

    Now, of course, the "conservatives" suddenly have all the answers!

    Say goodnight; some of us need a break, and a new beginning.
    I voted for a change; a major change.... along with all those that
    felt the same way.

    We have a chance for that change, and I sure wish those that
    put us in the hole we are in today, would stay out of the way.

    Perhaps with the next election, we can remove the balance of those
    we left in power, and get this Nation back to where it belongs.

    No hard feelings, and my absolute best hopes for good health to all,
    regardless of political bend. We all have a tough battle to fight, and
    it has little if anything, to do with politics.

    Thanks.
  • usakat
    usakat Member Posts: 610
    John23 said:

    Ok.
    Re:
    "-Additionally, there was nothing "right wing" about my post "
    "-it was very non-partisan "
    "-In fact, in the 2008 election cycle there was more than $166 million in campaign contributions "
    "-I am NOT a right wing banner carrier"
    "-seek out facts, not propaganda perpetrated by biased media"

    And at last, but not least, the most formidable non-partisan comment of comments:

    "Is Harry Reid representing YOUR best interest?"

    Harry Reid: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Reid
    (Yes, I think he does, ma'am'; quite a bit, actually. Thank you.)

    This forum is for all of us to discuss our times and troubles with cancer.

    Political rants are best served at other more "non-partisan" forums
    such as "www.freerepublic.com" and/or the many other fine "open-minded"
    "non-partisan" web sites available.

    All this political banter serves to do, is divide into groups, those of
    us that should be more solidly banding together.

    I personally (and very regrettably) voted for the "bushes" both times,
    for both generations. I have watched in horror, eight years of actions
    that took this country into the pits of hell.

    For six of those eight years the conservative party had total, absolute
    control. Yet the surplus we had, and the deficit we didn't have has
    been reversed. Health care has taken a tumble, along with the entire
    economy. Those in power for six years (and for the remaining two
    years that their votes were still required), did absolutely nothing.

    And now, with less than one year of control, our new President and
    his administration is being said to be fools by the same crew that
    had the power, and did -absolutely nothing-, for eight years.

    Now, of course, the "conservatives" suddenly have all the answers!

    Say goodnight; some of us need a break, and a new beginning.
    I voted for a change; a major change.... along with all those that
    felt the same way.

    We have a chance for that change, and I sure wish those that
    put us in the hole we are in today, would stay out of the way.

    Perhaps with the next election, we can remove the balance of those
    we left in power, and get this Nation back to where it belongs.

    No hard feelings, and my absolute best hopes for good health to all,
    regardless of political bend. We all have a tough battle to fight, and
    it has little if anything, to do with politics.

    Thanks.

    Follow the money train and see where it goes...
    Top 20 2010 Healthcare Campaign Contribution Recipients

    $193,750 from Big Pharma
    Big Pharma Donors

    $134,200 from Insurance/HMO
    Insurance Donors

    Senator Reid is in no way the only one accepting money - it's reported that Senate and House representatives from 47 states have accepted money from healthcare industry heavy hitters like Pfizer, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, AMA, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association, AARP, among others. Corporate and Association political donorship is reaching an all time high. Everyone is free to draw their own conclusions why corporations and associations give big money to elected officials.

    At opensecrets.org website it's easy to follow the association of donorship to legislation.

    The true measure of the labors of any person is what they actually do, not just what they say.

    "The quintessential revolution is that of the spirit, born of an intellectual conviction of the need for change in those mental attitudes and values which shape the course of a nation's development. A revolution which aims merely at changing official policies and institutions with a view to an improvement in material conditions has little chance of genuine success. Without a revolution in spirit, the forces which had produced inequities of the old order would continue to be operative, posing a constant threat to the process of reform and regeneration. It is not enough merely to call for freedom, democracy and human rights. There has to be a united determination to persevere in the struggle, to make sacrifices in the name of enduring truths, to resist the corrupting influences of desire, ill will, ignorance, and fear. Aung San Suu Kyi