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Pharmaceutical Extortion: Pay Up, or Die

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- 1973 days ago -
Group of global cancer experts criticizes exorbitant drug costs that prevent access to life-saving treatments


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Kit B (276)
Monday April 29, 2013, 7:01 pm
Photo: Penn State/flickr

Pharmaceutical Extortion: Pay Up, or Die

Group of global cancer experts criticizes exorbitant drug costs that prevent access to life-saving treatments

A group of cancer experts has issued a searing indictment of the "free market economy" principles that allow pharmaceutical companies to reap enormous profits while patients remain hostages to the industry, forced to either pay high drug prices or lose their lives.

In an editorial in Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology, over 100 leukemia experts from around the world argue that:

"Unaffordable drug prices in CML [chronic myelogenous leukemia] may be preventing many patients from accessing these life-saving drugs. [...]"

"Grateful patients may have become the “financial victims” of the treatment success, having to pay the high price annually to stay alive."

The prices are too high and ultimately "harmful to the sustainability of our national healthcare systems," they write.

While their focus is on CML drugs, the group writes that their findings are indicative of the "spiraling prices of cancer drugs in general." For example, 11 of the 12 cancer-treating drugs the FDA approved in 2012 were priced above $100,000 per year.

A case in point is the drug imatinib, sold by Novartis under the name Glivec, which provided about $4.7 billion in annual revenues in 2012.

The experts write that it was priced at nearly $30,000 per year in 2001 but skyrocketed to $92,000 per year in 2012, even though the original price already included research costs, "new indications were developed and FDA approved," and more people were taking it. Imatinib, they write, "may have set the pace for the rising cost of cancer drugs."

The authors conclude that the Hippocratic Oath of "do no harm" they took compels them to argue against the high prices of these drugs that do harm to and may risk the lives of cancer patients.

By: Andrea Germanos, staff writer | Common Dreams |


JL A (281)
Monday April 29, 2013, 7:11 pm
Hits home--just yesterday I was talking with a friend about a friend's mother where the siblings wanted to withhold the cancer drug that had brought their mother back to capacity to live independently when it was started four years ago because of the price knowing she can be expected to die (the siblings and their mother didn't get along).

Sounds a whole lot like murder to me--and pharmaceutical company assisted suicide worse than Kevorkian.

Companies should be required to run a program for such people to get it for free instead of reaming them.

Judy C (91)
Monday April 29, 2013, 8:30 pm
The ridiculous price of drugs is extortion, as the authors say. There is an ethical quandary here for doctors, who are bound by the Hippocratic Oath.

There are some little-known programs to get the drugs for free from the pharmaceutical companies. Of course, they involve a lot of red tape and paperwork for the doctor, who often has little time or motivation to deal with the requirements of the pharmaceutical companies. I know this is true, because my daughter and her doctor finally got her medication this way. She has no medical insurance.

Ben O (140)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 4:09 am
Right, no money? -Drop dead!

divergent r (309)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 12:46 pm
They are not even coming clean about the right drugs, cesium chloride was proven to cure cancer.
where is it,they are keeping it a secret!!!
the prices of Pharmacoppia, are insane...and the drugs aren't even safe, and animals died testing it...
everything about this is WRONG...I worked against Nestle's the worst of them,during the fake baby bottle disaster in africa with the who, this is nothing new, been going on forever
ty Kit

Kit B (276)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 12:50 pm

I think I know what you mean tasunka. Nestle was attempting to get as many mothers as possible, in Africa to feed their babies formula and not breast milk. Such a crappy company.

Jaime Alves (52)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 2:13 pm
Noted, thanks.

. (0)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 3:38 pm
I have written this before, but it bares repeating. When my father was dying of pancreatic cancer, he needed a daily injection of Lovinox- an anti-blood cloting drug. In 2005, each injection was $110.00 which he payed daily, until we found a reputable pharmacutical company in Canada (with the help of a cousin who is a pharmacist). They charged us $50,00 for thirty injections.
Does this give you any idea of the level of immoral theft exists in the pharmacutical trade? How many in the House sold their souls to these lobbyists? They are one of the most powerful groups in this country.
Until this immoral condition is corrected, it doesn't matter what Congress proposes- Obamacare, Obama's cuts in Medicare will only highten this travesty in America's pathethic health system.

Lynn D (0)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 3:56 pm
Truly sad, thanks for article!

Robert B (60)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 6:25 am
Congress, lobbyists and the the Drug companies are DIRECTLY responsible for the deaths of thousands of patients who died because they could not afford these life saving drugs,. They are ALSO responsible for the financial ruin of families and the rising cost of healthcare. They are guilty of negligent HOMICIDE. SORRY BUT, there is no nice way to sugar coat this. Because IT IS TRUE and they KNOW IT. This is simply CRIMINAL. It is immoral to hold the well being of sick people hostage to the "free market".

Capitalism without Mercy is tantamount to Evil. - From "ELI STONE"

paul m (93)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 6:39 am

Same everywhere,, money ,,,you live.. no money ....Die..

Jeannette A (137)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 8:54 am
Robert says it all.... I've already had to tell several of my doctors that I cannot afford their prescribed medications and they have worked with me to the best of their abilities. But samples and generics only go so far. My heart breaks for those who know there is a cure or a medication to help their illness but don't have any way to pay for it. So they die to enable the drug companies to make a profit. What kind of a country allow this to happen???

Birgit W (160)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 1:10 pm

Veronica C (22)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 8:36 pm
This is why they will never cure cancer. There is too much money being made in treatments.

Syd H (48)
Thursday May 2, 2013, 3:14 am
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure...

I cannot count the amount of people who tell me they will eat what they wish because it's better to live well and die young, but I am the one who pays a little more for my food... but much less in the end (and living very well). Changing my diet already cured many ailments, including diminishing one tumor to non-existence). Most of these drugs only cause other ailments, requiring another drug. It just about money.

Kit B (276)
Thursday May 2, 2013, 8:25 am

Yes, cancer has an "industry" behind the word. Hospitals, treatment centers, prescriptions, doctors, nurses, techs, machinery and equipment all for the support of the Cancer Treatment Industry.

Syd, while I support that each of us must give our diet full attention and eat as carefully and safely as possible, some will still be sick.

Past Member (0)
Friday May 3, 2013, 8:18 pm
Noted. Thanks.

Katrina & Willi D (90)
Saturday May 4, 2013, 8:53 pm
The drugs people need are out of price in the USA!! All other countries are so much cheaper!!!
Check what your medicines are with the Northwest Pharmacy from Canada!
We order our medicines and they are delivered in the mail! They are so helpful, we have found that the generic is the same potency as the name brands are!
They are safe and reliable! Just stay ahead as it takes about 3 weeks to get them! Don't run out! You will save a bunch!
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