What would you expect from a drug costing $250,000 in year one of treatment and then $12,500 a month?
My reaction would be “amazing results.” But for a drug you know well from television advertising, that is not the case … depending on your perspective.
In clinical trials this drug extended life by an average of 90 days. In some uses of the drug it was 6-9 months.
One national health plan in another country has decided the cost is too high and will not pay for the drug.
There are some difficult questions here.
Who decides whether society should carry the cost of such medication? Who decides if such limited incremental value is sufficient to warrant approval of such a drug? Why should such a drug be heavily promoted to the public?
Clearly few patients can pay out-of-pocket for such a drug. How does society advocate for these patients, if it should? Many patients using this drug welcome the extra time it provides them (some noting that assume quality of life as well).
Do these types of drugs, many of which are heavily promoted to the public, deserve a blank check? These are the questions that every single-payer system of health care struggles with. The United States would be no different, but you rarely hear that discussion included in the rhetoric.