When cancer treatment is talked about in the news, it's usually because there has been a new breakthrough in research, or something new about the disease has been discovered. What about after the discoveries though? Once a drug or treatment has been approved, is it easily available to all who might need it? Not always. A new report on what cancer drugs can cost is highlighting an aspect of a cancer diagnosis that patients and their families live with, but most people do not see: the financial implications.
A report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics recently found that globally approximately $107 billion, with a "B", was spent in 2015 alone on cancer medications. Estimates suggest that number could rise. By 2020, spending on cancer drugs could conceivably reach $150 billion worldwide. The increase is due to cutting edge research that, while valuable, is also pricey. Another factor is the rise in patients. More people are surviving cancer, for longer periods of time, so treatment costs are going up. While the news about recent developments in targeted cancer therapies and drug discoveries is positive, the cost of treating cancer needs to be addressed as well.