by J, Krishna Moorthi:
It is sad when a vital cancer drug goes up 15-fold in four years after its new owners hiked prices on nine separate occasions. Lomustine has been used to treat brain tumors, lung cancer, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma for more than 40 years. Unfortunately, now some patients find it too expensive. In 2013, production of the drug, which was previously called CeeNu, at that point was being sold for around $50 a capsule. The same dose today, now costs $768.
If this trend of increasing cost continues, the people who need this life-saving drug are not going to be able to afford it. The companies, I won’t mention here, have increased the price nine times in less than five years. A 20% hike in August was followed by a further 12% rise in November. Mostly, these companies have no competitors to discourage from raising prices. The US Food and Drug Administration is trying to encourage more companies to produce generic medicines in an attempt to drive down the prices.
As an Administrator in the Multi-specialty hospital, I worked for more than 5 years in Bangalore India, and it was my deep concern and responsibility to disclose the real facts about Cancer Patient treatment while in the hospital. My sincere sympathy was felt daily for the cancer patient and their families. For, you see, I knew in the future, they are going to pay out a lot of money and have financial liabilities while more than likely there would be no miraculous cure and the ultimate death of the patient.
The hospital needs money, doctors and consultants need the steady flow of patients for their business, and the manufacturing company is growing like a speeding train. However, the ultimate sufferers are the patient and their families. Even though they pay huge amounts of money for a cure and have good faith in their doctors, during my period as an administrator and to the best of my knowledge, I know of no cancer survivor. I have seen !00% death of cancer patients in the hospital and I also came across the suffering families who spent their life savings to the hospital and on medicines.
The survivors are only one in a million, then why should patients and their families pay hospitals for medicines that cure nothing? The cancer medicines are mere painkillers. They do not cure fully and only prolong the time until death. Then after the passing of their loved one, many families spend a fortune to settle the hospital bill. Many find themselves in financial trouble and in some cases they must sell their properties including their homes. Another sad fact is in certain cases some choose suicide due to the loss of everything they’ve worked hard for over the years and bankruptcy.
One difficult time for me was when the family of a patient cried in front of me during discharge. You see, they were not able to pay the dues to the hospital, however, they knew they had to settle the excessive bill. With no other option, one of the women removed her gold necklace, chain, and bangles then sold them to pay the bill. These are HEARTBREAKING FACTS OF how loved ones suffer after the empty promises told to them for a supposed miracle treatment. This is the reality all cancer patients suffer whether they be rich or poor.
What I stated here are true facts of my life.This is a message to governments of all nations. It is an urgent need to develop alternative medicine at a lower cost like other painkillers. To the knowledge of all, the hospitals, doctors and the medicine manufacturers are the biggest gainers in this dreaded game of life and death. When a cancer patient is told of a chance at life, then why is it allowed to be offered at an immoral cost to suffer a family?
I hope the trend will change when appropriate authorities look into the matter and encourage medicine companies to manufacture medicines at a reasonable cost,m not merely enriching themselves at the cost of good and decent people. This should be a noble cause to cure cancer. Maybe someone will step up and put the lives of their fellow man above profits. Let’s wait and watch!!!