Doctors Tried To Lower $148K Cancer Drug Cost; Makers Tripled Its Price (arstechnica.com) 145

Doctors Tried To Lower $148K Cancer Drug Cost; Makers Tripled Its Price (arstechnica.com) 145

Posted by Editor David on Saturday April 21, 2018 @02:34PM from the bitter-pills dept.
Slashdot reader Applehu Akbar writes: Imbruvica, a compound that treats white blood cell cancers, has until now been a bargain at $148,000 per year. Until now, doctors have been able to optimize dosage for each patient by prescribing up to four small-dose pills of it per day.

But after results from a recent small pilot trial indicated that smaller doses would for most patients work as well as the large ones, its manufacturer, Janssen and Pharmacyclics, has decided on the basis of the doctors’ interest in smaller dosages to reprice all sizes of the drug to the price of the largest size. This has the effect of tripling the price for patients, and doctors have now put off any plans for further testing of lower dosages.
The researchers are retaliating by urging clinical investigators to test whether the expensive pill could be safely given every other day — and by calling on America’s public health regulators to investigate the drug’s pricing.

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