• pharmaceutical drugs and capsules

pharmaceutical drugs and capsules (Photo : Reuters)

A team of over 100 top cancer doctors has published an article and launched a campaign demanding that large pharmaceutical companies lower the costs of cancer treatment drugs. The physicians argue that the sky-high prices of medications are linked to corporate greed as big pharma tries to make more money and boost profits.

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Dr. Ayalew Tefferi, a hematologist (study of blood) from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, was the paper's lead author. Tefferi was among the 118 professionals who stated in the study's findings that high drug prices affect the cancer patients and the health care system.

The average United States household's income is $52,000 per year. A treatment with a $120,000-per-year bill typically results in out-of-pocket expenses up to $25,000 or $30,000, even after an insurance company pays its share, according to Immortal.org.

In the article the physicians also noted that the price tags of cancer treatments go up yearly. Since 2000 the average cost has annually risen $8,500.

The group of doctors has proposed new legislation. It would give Medicare the ability to negotiate with drug companies to reduce their steep prices, according to Pulse Headlines.

In response the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing Association (PRMA) rejected the physicians' arguments. It stated that medications make up just one-fifth of total spending for cancer treatments.

PRMA also made a cause-and-effect argument. It alleged that dropping the cost of medicines would slow down the development of breakthrough cancer research.  

Cancer affects one-third of individuals during their lifetime. About 14.5 million Americans had a history of cancer as of Jan. 1, 2014.

The doctors' findings were published on July 23 in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.