The Aftermath of a ‘Miracle Cure’ for a Rare Cancer

September 5, 2023

(Wired) – Druker and the other chronic myelogenous leukemia experts warned in 2013 that Gleevec was setting an unsustainable example in health care. They were right. In the two decades that followed the arrival of Gleevec, the costs of oncological therapies increased significantly. New precision medicines in oncology have a median price of $150,000 a year, the same annual price that Gleevec reached before its first generic arrived. A recent survey of oncologists found that more than two-thirds of them predicted the expanding reliance on precision medicines meant higher costs for the future of cancer care.

All this has led to a new term in oncology: financial toxicity. Oncologists have started warning their patients about the economic implications of their care. One study found that more than 40 percent of cancer patients exhaust their entire life’s assets within two years of diagnosis. The diagnosis also makes somebody more than two and a half times more likely to go bankrupt. (Read More)