Treating cancer requires more than expensive drugs

  • The emotional challenges to the shock of a cancer diagnosis and fears about the future are often left untreated. More specific emotional concerns can range from apprehension about body image after treatment to periods of anxiety or depression, sadness, shock, horror, disbelief, frustration, distress, unhappiness, upset, worry, shame, fear.
  • A survey by the Teenage Cancer Trust has revealed that eight out of 10 young people find the mental health impact of cancer as hard to deal with as the treatment itself.
  • Patients who used information sources were more likely to have a higher locus of control over the course of their disease. These results show how important the doctor’s role is in the provision of emotional support.

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The increase in cancer drug prices is harming our patients and our health care system

  • Americans paid twice as much as Canadians for health care, but they didn’t get twice the benefit, according to a new study of patients with advanced colorectal cancer who lived, in some cases, mere miles from each other.
  • The increase in cancer drug prices in the last 15 years has many contributing factors and is harming our patients and our health care system.
  • With typical out-of-pocket expenses of 20% to 30%, the financial burden of cancer treatment would be $20,000 to 30,000 a year, nearly half of the average annual household income in the United States. Many patients (estimated 10% to 20%) may decide not to take the treatment or may compromise significantly on the treatment plan. Source: Journal of Oncology Practice

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Putting drug prices in the spotlight misses the big picture

  • Despite the media’s attention to high drug prices our national healthcare costs are going to continue to climb rapidly.
  • Spending on ambulatory care, which includes ER and outpatient hospital services, also played a role in increased overall costs. Annual spending on ambulatory care swelled from $381.5 billion in 1996 to $706.4 billion in 2013. This increase, about $324 billion, was higher than any of the other five types of care analyzed.
  • A survey revealed that only 20.6 percent of people met the total recommended amounts of exercise — about 23 percent of all surveyed men and 18 percent of surveyed women.
  • Medical costs linked to obesity were estimated to be $147 billion in 2008. Annual medical costs for people who were obese were $1,429 higher than those for people of normal weight in 2006.

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Common sense in the drug pricing debate

High drug prices are largely blamed on the pharmaceutical companies, but before we can have a common sense debate we need to look at overall health care costs.  In 2013 the U.S. spent 17.1% of its total GDP on healthcare, 50% more than the second highest spending country, France (11.6%). In 2014, the U.S. spent $2.6 trillion (a 5.0% increase from 2013) on personal health care expenditures, in 2015 the U.S. spent $3.2 trillion, which is about 17.8%. Prescription drugs account for only $.10-$.12 of every healthcare dollar spent. Even if all prescription drugs were free our healthcare costs would still be increasing. Continue reading

Truths and fiction within the drug market

  • Drugs are more expensive in America than anywhere else.
  • The president’s plan, which he called the “most sweeping action in history to lower the price of prescription drugs”, lacks potency.
  • The price of drugs is based on what the market will bear.
  • The argument that  nine out of 10 big pharmaceutical companies spend more on marketing than on research is flawed as most of this marketing money is directed at the physicians who do the prescribing, rather than consumers and includes everything from medical journals to expenses for sales people.

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What happened to the pharma industry?

  • There has been a transformation within the pharma industry during the last decade.
  • Although they say that patients are first their actions indicate that Wall Street is first.
  • It starts with CEO’s that are over compensated and brainwashing employees to believe their products benefit all of us.
  • Career “pharma employees” are hurting the industry while people who understand the challenges are being driven out of the industry.
  • Phony pharma awards don’t help acknowledge the problems of the industry.

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