Cancer treatment pricy but spending is moderating

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Very high prices for breakthrough new cancer drugs are pushing up costs for patients, making it tougher for them to complete treatment.

Meanwhile, a report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics show global spending on cancer medicines hit $91 billion last year, up from $71 billion in 2008 and $37 billion a decade ago. The institute’s Murray Aitken predicts worlwide spending on cancer drugs soon will top $100 billion.

Still, multiple factors have slowed the average annual increase in cancer drug spending to 5.4 percent over the past five years, down from 14.2 percent increases from 2003 to 2008.

In the U.S., a month’s supply of a brand-name cancer drug is now about $10,000, and an insured patient’s total outlay for a year’s cancer treatment is about $9,000.

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