A new study found that the price of cancer drugs has increased significantly in the last decade.
Researchers found that the skyrocketing prices line up with change in health insurance which makes patients responsible for more of the cost. This change potentially puts people in the position of not being able to afford treatment.
Cancer drugs that are administered orally have been a focus of the pharmaceutical industry. Cancer drugs taken orally are better targeted to attack cancer and are often preferable to intravenous chemotherapy.
Private insurance has favored orally-delivered cancer drugs because it offers generous coverage. Unfortunately, in recent years more of the cost has been shifted to consumers.
Patients are increasingly suffering the burden of paying for these high-cost specialty drugs as plans move toward use of higher deductible and co-insurance. Co-insurance is where a patient will pay a percentage of the drug cost rather than a flat copay.
The study reviewed changes in drug reimbursements for cancer drugs paid out by commercial health plans between 2000 and 2014 using the TruvenHealth MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database.
Since 2000, 32 oral cancer drugs have been introduced to the market. 17 of those drugs were launched between 2011 and 2013.
A new oral cancer drug introduced in 2000 cause about $1,869 per month, conversely, the average cost of a drug approved in 2014 was $11,325.
Researchers assert that new drugs are more effective against cancer than older ones, which motivates companies to charge even more than they used to when drugs are new.