Tuesday, November 13, 2012

AHRP- Physicians Say NO to Prescription Drug Price Gouging

Advancing Honest and Ethical Medical Research


Physicians at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have taken a giant step toward stemming the tide of unconscionable pharmaceutical industry price gouging.  Sloan-Kettering physicians said NO to Sanofi’s new anti-cancer drug, Zaltrap which the company priced at $11,063 per month.

Drs. Peter B. Bach, Leonard B. Saltz, and Robert E Wittes publicized the center’s position, urging other physicians to exercise their professional responsibility by choosing the medicines they prescribe with full consideration to the clinical value and cost burden for patients.

As a result, in what is considered a watershed moment, Sanofi promptly offered to reduce the price of Zaltrap by half.

The Sloan-Kettering physicians have challenged not only Big Pharma--they have challenged the profession for its blind acceptance of industry-dictated healthcare policies that have led to skyrocketing medical costs that bear no relationship between the price of drugs and the clinical value they provide for patients.

They note that both FDA’s approval process and Medicare reimbursement guidelines fail to ignore entirely the absence of benefit and cost burden.

"This political climate also helps explain why the Affordable Care Act precludes Medicare from changing its coverage or payment amounts based on cost comparisons like the one we have outlined, even when two drugs appear to work equally well. And it is probably why neither presidential candidate has addressed runaway cancer drug prices.
But if no one else will act, leading cancer centers and other research hospitals should. The future of our health care system, and of cancer care, depends on our using our limited resources wisely.
The current level of spending on health care, estimated to be $2.8 trillion this year, is already too high. The growth rate in health spending is unsustainable."
Times Editorial lauds the Sloan Kettering physicians.

Vera Sharav

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