Cost of Cancer Therapy: The Elephant in the Room?

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I am distressed by your coverage of innovative therapies, such as dual HER2 blockade (see The ASCO Post, January 1, 2012, and Supplement to February 15, 2012), without mentioning that these therapies will never be cost-effective given the current pricing of the agents involved. If we wish to maintain our credibility as the arbiters of appropriate cancer therapy, we cannot continue to ignore the elephant in the room.

ASCO has to come out strongly in favor of negotiated pricing for new cancer drugs rather than the current “take it or leave it” system. The current cost structure of new drugs is unsustainable, and we, as leaders, need to say it, and say it loudly. ■


—Michael J Kraut, MD
Medical Director, Oncology
Providence Cancer Institute
Southfield, Michigan

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