The price of cancer drugs is too high. Those already-high prices, which continue to rise rapidly, are an increasingly significant issue in U.S. health care expenditures. To reduce the price, Medicare should be allowed to negotiate prices, and pay-for-delay strategies should be outlawed. Regulations on cancer research that add to costs without increasing patient safety should be curtailed. Regulators and investigators alike should demand that new drugs offer true clinical improvement over current drugs. Finally, market forces should have a greater role. Published in the Washington Post, February 2013.
By Hagop Kantarjian, Baker Institute scholar in health policy; Tito Fojo, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health; and Leonard Zwelling, professor of medicine, MD Anderson Cancer Center