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35. It's Getting Expensive

In America, medical treatment for cancer costs $70 billion a year. and "smart-bomb drugs" can make care much more expensive.

USA's three most expensive medical conditions: heart problems: $76 billion, injuries from accdients/violence: $72 billion, cancer: $70 billion

How Costs Add Up...

Post-biotech (1987-2007). The sale of expensive cell targeted therapies transformed development of anti-cancer drugs into a big business that now is dominated by the pharma and biotech companies.

Popular cell-targeted therapies... cost of using drugs for 1 year.

  • Drug
  • Avastin
    (lung cancer)
  • Tarceva
    (pancreatic cancer)
  • Gleevec
    (stomach cancer)
  • Erbitux
    (colon cancer)

  • Cost Per Year
  • $106,000

  • $25,000

  • $45,000

  • $115,000


Example: Treatment for Colon Cancer. Pre-biotech, using F-5U (a mainstay chemo drug), an 8 week treatment would cost about $100. Today, using a new drug like Erbitux, an 8 week treatment costs about $19,000.