Hospitals say no to costly cancer drugs

Are new drugs and devices costing your healthcare system too much? Then just say no.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital did just that and wrote an editorial in The New York Times, explaining why it refused to purchase the cancer drug Zaltrap. It's rejection prompted the manufacturer to offer the New York hospital a 50 percent discount, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The op-ed highlighted the minimal association between drug prices and value provided, The New York Times noted. Zaltrap's original $11,000-a-month price tag was twice that of similar drug, Avastin. However, both drugs offer the same survival benefit.

"In most industries, something that offers no advantage over its competitors and yet sells for twice the price would never even get on the market. But that is not how things work for drugs," Sloan-Kettering physicians wrote the op-ed.

Drug prices may drop if hospitals start to push back against drugmakers. Because newer isn't always better, hospitals don't have to shell out big bucks to get high-quality treatments and medical devices, the Inquirer noted.

But manufacturers aren't the only ones driving up drug prices. Some hospitals mark up chemotherapy drugs by up to 10 times their average retail price. The prices go even higher as hospitals buy up independent oncologist practices and then charge patients much more for the same treatment in the same office, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

For more:
- here's the Philadelphia Inquirer article
- read the NYT article and op-ed

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