Is there any doubt that massive treatments like radiation and chemotherapy are heavy on the pockets? As per a new study by scientists from Kings College London, a significant shift in cancer policy is the need of the hour as cancer rates have apparently elevated in rich countries.
Cancer has become strikingly common and amidst expensive medicines and therapies, the expenses of cancer care in high income countries are becoming unyielding and necessitate immediate solution.
Professor Arnie Purushotham, Director of King’s Health Partners Integrated Cancer Centre and a co-author of the report, cited, “There is acknowledgment that the economic burden of health care in general, and high-quality cancer care in particular, will become unaffordable without genuine effort to address these issues. It is important to understand the drivers contributing to the burgeoning cost of cancer care and develop policy to address these factors.”
Some of the factors are very specific like the huge development costs for new cancer drugs, and other common causes include over-use, swift expansion of demand, and shorting life cycles of medical technologies that are inclusive of drugs as well as imaging techniques. Also, the medical front has seen more defensive medical practices, less awareness within the regulatory system and inequality while treating patients.
In this view, the analysts have urged for a radical step that could ease patient treatment pathways and establish new models of care with lower cost bases and a new approach to costly medications. This comprises compulsory cost effective analysis, prohibition of off-label use and new economic avenues for reimbursement and incentivisation. They also suggest that the public, patients and policy makers ought to be well informed on all prospects of affordable cancer care.
Importantly, the scientists believe that affordable cancer care could be provided without compromising on quality and they supposedly have the management options, evidences and techniques to bring about this transformation in all developed nations. They conclude that delivering reasonably priced cancer care to all patients is a global challenge.
The Lancet Oncology commission report is being shown at the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress in Stockholm, Sweden.