The May 23 editorial (“What's a new cancer drug worth?” p. 24) offers a very thoughtful discussion. The practice of manipulating science to make products worth more than what they are must cease. Granted, many of the patients are terminal and are looking for hope. However, the hope should not be exploited, which is common in the oncology arena. What does it mean when a small study shows life expectancy increased by one or two or three months? How about the horrible side effects patients have to go through? Most important, many patients are paying a huge co-pay for these insanely priced drugs. Patients are selling their homes to pay for the medicine and at the end, the outcomes are marginal or below marginal in most cases. The families are left with a huge financial burden after the death of a spouse or a child. People shouldn't have to choose between groceries and a drug. The 21st Century Cures Act offers lots of great things. However, it is riddled with language written by lobbyists. Surrogate marker is a wrong way to evaluate the efficacy of a cancer drug. The recommendation at the end of the column is definitely the right step to serve our patients in an optimum manner.
Roy Guharoy, Pharm.D.Vice president of clinical integration and chief pharmacy officer
Ascension, St. Louis