Monday, June 14, 2010

Conundrum of drug development

It’s not inconceivable that drug companies might decide that the cancer drug enterprise is too costly to sustain over the long haul, given the difficulty and high cost of finding formulations that actually work (see article). And should a Gleevac-style drug some day be developed for melanoma, it’s frightening to consider what it would cost and how insurance companies might want to restrict access to it. Who could afford to live with melanoma if a treatment was discovered that turned it into a chronic disease, but which insurance refused to cover? Should targeted drug therapy ever deliver on its promise, it would bankrupt a healthcare system that’s already teetering on the brink. The question that must be asked is: How much are we willing to spend for how much benefit for how many patients?

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