7-Nov-14 10:30 AM  CST

Life Saving Cancer Drugs will Soon Cost Patients More

The recent change in the distribution of three life saving cancer treatment drugs has got some hospitals seeing red. Avastin (bevacizumab), Herceptin (trastuzumab), and Rituxan (rituximab), produced by San Francisco based Genentech Labs, as of October 1st 2014 can only be purchased from specialty distributors. What this essentially means is that the discounted prices hospital have been able to purchase these chemo drug products for from their regular pharmacy wholesaler will cease.

            Pete Allen the VP of Novation, a hospital wholesale negotiating firm, estimates the change will cost US hospitals that commonly use these chemotherapy drugs, more than 300,000 million dollars, almost overnight. Genentech, which is a subsidiary of Roche, states the change is a response to needed improvement measures for safety and security. According to Genentech’s associate director of corporate relations, Charlotte Arnold, Genentech’s other chemotherapy drugs, Perjeta (pertuzumab), Kadcyla (trastuzumab emtansine), and Gazyva (obinutuzumab), are already distributed this way.

Hospital administrators and wholesalers are furious over Genentech’s decision. Ascension Health, a Catholic, non-profit, health system, states that a 400mg dose of Avastin (bevacizumab), jumped from $2282.38 on October 12, 2014 to $2511.36 on October 14, 2014. Herceptin (trastuzumab) had a similar price increase going from $3586.52 to $3878.89. What makes matters worse is that insurance companies are not willing to compensate for the price increase, so hospital systems have no choice but to swallow the cost. The only other option would be to pass the increase onto the patient, which most hospital systems are not willing to do.

            Genentech, which had 50 billion dollars in sales last year, tried to enact a similar distribution mandate in 2006, but had to rescind their decision because it caused such an outrage from their customers. This time however, it looks as if Genentech has dug in their heels, and specialty distribution for these chemotherapy agents will stand.




“Cancer Drug Price Hike Causes Criticism from Providers,” Professional Medical Services, 10/2014, http://p-m-s.com/index.php/healthcare-industry-news/cancer-drug-price-hike-causes-criticism-from-providers/ referenced, 31, October 2014

Saparito, B. “Hospitals Furious at Cancer Drug Price Hikes,”, Time Magazine, 10/27/14, http://time.com/3541484/cancer-drug-price-hikes/, referenced 31,October 2014

For additional information on this article, please contact:
Source: Sandy Andrews  

Tendenci™ User Home © 2004 Tendenci™ software by Schipul - "The Web Marketing Company" | www.schipul.com