New Drugs for Prostate Cancer Are Costly

Researchers have found new drugs that may benefit in treating men who are diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. However, the new drugs are estimated to add several billions to the country’s medical bill. In the last fifteen months, the Foods and Drugs Administration have approved three new medications and there are several other drugs that in under clinical research. Until last year, there was only one drug available that improved the survival rate of patients, which was approved in 2004.

Competitive market scenario for new drugs

The new drugs will bring a revolution to the prostate cancer market. The manufacturers of these new medications will add competition to the fill a niche in the survival of prostate cancer patients. Several analysts predict that some of the new drugs, such as Dendereon’s Provenge and Johnson & Johnson’s Zytiga will reach one billion dollar sales per annum. The new drugs are expected to benefit patients whose disease has moved beyond the gland and the hormone therapy is ineffective.

New drugs will improve the survival rate of patients

Generally, men who are suffering from prostate cancer in the last stage have an average life span of one and a half years. The new drugs are forecast to add two to five months to the life of last stage prostate cancer patients. Physicians predict that patients who undergo treatment with more than one of the new drugs successively will be able to prolong their lives by over two years. However, the cost of the new drugs are a cause of concern to the patients, insurance companies, and providers. The cost of Provenge is $93000 for an entire course, Zytiga costs roughly $5000 monthly, and Sanofi’s Jevtana cost is approximately $8000 for three weeks.

New drugs to increase burden on Medicare

The high cost of undergoing treatment with the new drugs will add a significant burden to the country’s Medicare program. An analyst with Lazard predicts that the cost of undergoing the treatment will cost as much as five hundred thousand dollars for every patient. He said that the cost cannot be sustained by the country’s medical system as almost eighty percent of patients are under Medicare. The officials of Medicare are contemplating on whether the program will pay the cost of the new medicines. It is predicted that the system will cover the cost only when the treatment is followed according to the label. Although, the officials refuse that the review is due to the high price, advocates assume that this could lead to rationing in the usage of the new drugs.