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Breast Cancer Blog: Can healthcare Systems Afford New Drugs?

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Nov 29, 2005

Can healthcare Systems Afford New Drugs?

Can healthcare Systems Afford New Drugs?
With the advancement of medicine and introduction of new drugs comes the higher price tag of cancer treatment. The increasing price for newer medications comes from at least two aspects. With the medical advances, diseases are further sub classified to smaller categories and new drugs are being developed targeting these small groups. One example is breast cancer treatment. Some decades ago there was only one form of breast cancer. Then came the hormone positive and hormone negative breast cancer. In the last decade or so Her2 positive and Her2 negative breast cancer came into existence.

Subdivision of the diseases resulted in development of drugs targeting subgroups of patients. Aromatase inhibitors like arimidex were developed specifically for post-menopausal women with receptor positive breast cancer, which is a subgroup within the subgroup of hormone receptor positive breast cancer. Obviously this increases the price tag since the target population became smaller with each subdivision.

Another reason for skyrocketing of new drugs was the introduction more stringent control on clinical trials. Clinical trials in breast cancer now usually involve thousands of women compared to hundreds of women couple of decades ago. This adds to the cost of developing newer drugs.

Herceptin (trastuzumab) is a humanised monoclonal antibody that targets the Her2 positive cancer cells. It is currently licensed for use in advanced breast cancer where it has been shown to extend survival. Recently this drug was shown to reduce recurrence of breast cancer by 50 percent in early stage breast cancer.

Herceptin is the cause of controversy in many countries because of pressures from some quarters, including patients, for it to be made available immediately for early breast cancer, without waiting for the outcome of these trials. You may have read the news story of woman in Scotland suing the health system for not making herceptin available to her.

I do not know where this will end, but one thing is very obvious: with the development of more and more targeted therapy the price of healthcare can go only one way, and that is up.

Emily      Return to Breast Cancer Blog Main


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Do you read all of the blogs published by medicineworld.org? Many of our bloggers are busy keeping you updated on the various health related topics. We publish the following blogs at this time.

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Breast cancer blog: Breast cancer blog is run by Emily and other bloggers and they bring you the latest stories, news and events that are related to breast cancer. Increasing awareness about breast cancer among women and in the general population is the main goal of this breast cancer blog.

Lung cancer blog: Lung cancer blog is managed by Scott with the help of other bloggers. Through this blog Scott and his friends constantly remind the readers about the dangers of smoking. It's a never-ending struggle against this miserable disease with which a social stigma of smoking is associated.

Colon cancer blog: Colon cancer blog is run by Sue and other bloggers. Sue brings a personal touch to the colon cancer blog since her mother died of colon cancer few years ago. She writes about stories, research news and advances in treatment related to colon cancer.

Prostate cancer blog: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men. American Cancer Society estimates that over 230,000 new cases of prostate cancer occur in the United state every year. This important blog about prostate cancer is run by Mark and other bloggers. This blog brings news, stories, and other personal observations related to prostate cancer.

Medicineworld.org publishes a diabetes watch blog and this blog is run by JoAnn other bloggers. This diabetes watch blog brings you the latest in the field of diabetes. This includes personal stories, advances in diagnosis and treatment, and other observations about diabetes. Improving awareness about diabetes is an important mission of this group.

Janet      


Breast cancer
Every year, more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. Breast cancer ranks second as the leading cause of cancer deaths in American women. Until recently breast cancer topped the list of leading causes of cancer deaths in women, but lately lung cancer has claimed the top position. If skin cancer is excluded, breast cancer is the commonest cancer among American women.

Breast Cancer Blog: Can healthcare Systems Afford New Drugs?

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