ASCO Continues Work On Rationing Cancer Drugs

  • by: |
  • 09/11/2014
Here's Lowell Schnipper who is in charge of ASCO's  cancer rationing app project on me-too drugs:  "The oncologist said one way to increase value in cancer medication is to avoid "me-too drugs" that provide marginal clinical gains over existing drugs. "Those are drugs that shouldn't be highly valued like a drug that provides four times the value," he told me. "From a societal perspective, we shouldn't give them a high price designation."

This is being dumb by design or default.  Either way it's dumb.

What is a me-too drug?  Does Schnipper regard all medicines that treat HER-2 positive tumors as alike?  What about the variations in epigenetics that a range of drugs control for?    Should an oral version of an older drug be considered me-too?  

And again Schnipper talks about 'marginal gains.'   He has previously said 3 months of life is marginal.   And he has yet to explain how spending on new medicines to extend life is more of a waste of money than, say, spending money on pre-natal care which has also produced  marginal results.   Or more broadly, why spending money on new medicines where there is no other treatment available somehow wrecks our economy.     Really?   When if we DOUBLED what we spent on cancer medicines it would be all of 1 percent of total health care spending?? 

Schnipper's obsession with ending life by force or fiat is what explains his drive and shapes his desire to ration drugs.   And so far, he and ASCO have avoided debating or discussing the cancer rationing app.  

That's playiing dumb.  By design.

For those of you interested in the other side  of this issue, here's my article on the ASCO cancer rationing app.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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