[Ip-health] Cancer Cost Swells, Risks Becoming ‘Unsustainable,’ Lancet Says

Krista Cox krista.cox at keionline.org
Mon Sep 26 09:30:27 PDT 2011


Cancer Cost Swells, Risks Becoming ‘Unsustainable,’ Lancet Says

By Kristen Hallam - Sep 26, 2011 6:58 AM ET

Cancer treatment costs are rising at such a rapid rate that they threaten to
become “unsustainable” even for rich countries, according to an expert panel
assembled by The Lancet Oncology medical journal.
About 12 million people worldwide get cancer every year, and the costs
associated with new cases was at least $286 billion in 2009, according to a
report compiled by 37 experts from countries including the U.K., the U.S.
and Germany. By 2030, about 22 million people will be diagnosed with the
disease annually, the panel told a cancer conference in Stockholm today.

Cancer diagnosis and treatment is becoming more complex, with a mix of
imaging, surgery, radiation and drug therapy involved in fighting tumors.
Experts in those fields need to come together and discuss with patients,
insurers and industry players the best ways to lower costs without
compromising care, the panel said.

“With an aging global population and an endless conveyor belt of expensive
new drugs and technologies and increasing financial pressures, the cost of
cancer care in high-income countries is becoming unsustainable,” The Lancet
Oncology said in a statement.

More than half of the $286 billion in costs was related to treatment, while
a quarter was linked to lost productivity, the report found.
The panel included economists, patient advocates and physicians, the
journal’s editor, David Collingridge, wrote in an accompanying comment.
Input from drugmakers, payers and educators will be key to future
discussions, Collingridge said.

“We are at a crossroads for affordable cancer care, where our choices, or
refusal to make choices, will affect the lives of millions of people,” said
Richard Sullivan, a professor at King’s College Integrated Cancer Centre in
London who presented the report to the European Multidisciplinary Cancer
Congress in Stockholm.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kristen Hallam in London at
khallam at bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at
pserafino at bloomberg.net

Krista Cox
Staff Attorney
Knowledge Ecology International
(202) 332-2670

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