Encourage Questions and Actions About the High Cost of Cancer Drugs

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Physicians are now more likely to discuss cancer drug prices, “which was a rarity in the past,” Hagop M. Kantarjian, MD, told The ASCO Post. “Oncologists are starting to incorporate the price as a side effect, because if the price is too high, that is a financial side effect to patients, who can go bankrupt, or their families can go bankrupt, if they cannot afford the drug. Physicians are negotiating or discussing with their patients different treatment options and how much these options might cost patients out of pocket.” A leader in the effort to drive down the cost of drugs needed to treat patients with cancer, Dr. Kantarjian is Chair of the Department of Leukemia at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

If patients don’t ask about costs, should physicians bring it up? “I think they should,” Dr. Kantarjian said, “because part of our oath as physicians is to protect patients from harm and injustice. If the drug price will harm patients because it is too high and does not have added benefits, then it our duty to discuss it.” ■


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Physicians have a duty to speak up against high cancer drug prices,” Hagop M. Kantarjian, MD, resolutely stated in an interview with The ASCO Post. “We should speak up because high drug prices are harming patients.” A leader in the effort to drive down the cost of drugs needed to treat patients...




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