Researchers say the price of oral cancer medications is skyrocketing – and the reason why may surprise you.
Cancer medicine research has come a long way in the past 15 years, but a recent study suggests that this alone won’t make life easier for cancer patients. According to a report from ABC News, a team of researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has shown that the price of certain oral cancer medications has risen dramatically since 2000.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reveals that the average cost for certain drugs has increased dramatically over the past 15 years even after adjusting for inflation. The study also showed that new medications are more expensive that drugs that have been on the market for some time.
Oral cancer medications offer relief from some of the more intense cancer therapies like chemo and radiation. They have become increasingly popular since 2000, with over 32 new drugs introduced to the market throughout the course of the study period.
Researchers found that the average cost for the oral cancer medications in the study had risen from $1,869 per month in 2000 to $11,325 per month in 2014. Products launched after 2010 showed a 63 percent increase in the average monthly spending over the course of the first year that they were available.
According to the study’s author Stacie Dusetzina, an assistant professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, as well as a researcher at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, “The major trend here is that these products are just getting more expensive over time.
While researchers have been working on developing oral cancer medications due to an increased demand, the prices continue to rise making them all but inaccessible to people in need. Dusetzina says that patients bear the majority of the burden of these pricy drugs, paying higher deductibles and co-insurance, covering a percentage of the drug’s cost rather than a flat rate copay.
Researchers aren’t sure exactly why oral cancer drug prices are on the rise, but the increase is making things difficult for people undergoing treatments.
A press release from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill describing the details of the study can be found here.