The "Hotel Melanoma" moniker is a metaphor for living with my particular brand of cancer. Except for those lucky few of us deemed "cured", all we cancer survivors are guests of one of the many, many branded hotels in the "Hotel Carcinoma" chain. We can check out any time we like, but we can never leave. Meanwhile, let's be livin' it up; and please support cancer education, prevention, and treatment research.

Tutu Brothers

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Cost Of Living

I recently stumbled onto a rather lengthy article about new cancer drugs that extend patients’ lives for an all-too-brief period of time at a cost of many, many thousands of dollars. Yervoy and the soon-to-be-on-the-market PD-1 inhibitors weren’t the centerpieces of the article but were mentioned as examples of breathtakingly expensive treatments. While the high cost of cutting-edge cancer treatment is hardly “breaking news” to residents of The Hotel Carcinoma, what struck me in the article is that some oncologists are reportedly beginning to rebel against the astronomical prices of new cancer drugs that provide marginal life-extending benefits. And even using words like “profiteering” to describe the pricing practices of Big Pharma. Check it out at The Cost Of Living

A healthcare economist I’m not, so I’ve no learned opinion about how to lower the price tag of cancer treatment without killing the needed financial incentives for drug companies to discover and develop new cancer drugs. My cynical recovering lawyer take on the matter is that Big Pharma charges sticker shock prices for new cancer drugs just because they can. Like, if I ever find myself in need of Yervoy or a PD-1 inhibitor to perhaps do no more than buy a little precious time I’m going to be price-sensitive? So my cap goes off (but only in the shade) to all of the oncologists who are working to “bend the cost curve” in cancer treatment.

For Big Pharma, the Hotel Melanoma rendition of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” from The Supremes…

Make it free, why don't cha babe
Stretch out my life, why don't cha babe
'Cause you don't really cure C
You just keep me hangin' on
You don't really treat C
But you keep me hangin' on

Why do you keep a stalling around
Playing with my heart?
Why don't you get savin’ my life
And let me make a new start?
Let me get over you
The day you've gotten over C

Set me free, why don't cha babe
Let me be, why don't cha babe
'Cause you don't really cure C
You just keep me hangin' on
Now you don't really treat C
You just keep me hangin' on

You say although C costs bucks
You still wanna be drug friend
But how can we still be friends
When paying you only breaks my heart again
And there ain't nothing I can do about it

Woo, set me free, why don't cha babe
Woo, get out my life, why don't cha babe
Set me free, why don't cha babe
Get out my life, why don't cha babe

You claim you still care for me
But your stockholders need to see green
Now that you've got your green bucks
You wanna still hold on to me
You just charge me more ‘or else’
So let me try some comp’ny else Hey!

Why don't you get a plan about it
And set me free
Now you don't care a thing about C
You're just using me
Go on, get out, get out of my life
And let me sleep at night
'Cause you don't really cure C
You just keep me hangin' on..

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