Skip to Content

Cancer Drugs Should Cost Less, Say Doctors

Doctors argue that some drug companies are charging too much for their cancer drugs, to the detriment of patients.

A group of more than 100 cancer experts have called out drug companies for the high prices of cancer drugs. The doctors, all specialists in chronic myelogenous leukemia or CML,  published their opinion on what they call “astronomical” prices on Friday in the scientific journal Blood.

They write:

[We] believe the current prices of CML drugs are too high, unsustainable, may compromise access of needy patients to highly effective therapy, and are harmful to the sustainability of our national healthcare systems. These reflect the spiraling prices of cancer drugs in general. Of the 12 drugs approved by the FDA for various cancer indications in 2012, 11 were priced above $100,000 per year. Cancer drug prices have almost doubled from a decade ago, from an average of $5,000 per month to more than $10,000 per month.

The authors do acknowledge the need for pharmaceutical companies to be rewarded for “innovation and discoveries” and that the cost of bringing a new cancer drug to market is around $1 billion.

But the authors also suggest that current pricing, at least of some drugs, is too high and, as reported by the New York Times, “unsustainable and perhaps even immoral”:

The authors] suggested that charging high prices for a medicine needed to keep someone alive is profiteering, akin to jacking up the prices of essential goods after a natural disaster.

“Advocating for lower drug prices is a necessity to save the lives of patients,” wrote the doctors in their commentary.  

Keep Reading

Most Popular

individual aging affects covid outcomes concept
individual aging affects covid outcomes concept

Anti-aging drugs are being tested as a way to treat covid

Drugs that rejuvenate our immune systems and make us biologically younger could help protect us from the disease’s worst effects.

Europe's AI Act concept
Europe's AI Act concept

A quick guide to the most important AI law you’ve never heard of

The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence.

Uber Autonomous Vehicles parked in a lot
Uber Autonomous Vehicles parked in a lot

It will soon be easy for self-driving cars to hide in plain sight. We shouldn’t let them.

If they ever hit our roads for real, other drivers need to know exactly what they are.

crypto winter concept
crypto winter concept

Crypto is weathering a bitter storm. Some still hold on for dear life.

When a cryptocurrency’s value is theoretical, what happens if people quit believing?

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.