Is There A New Way to Treat Cancer? | Teen Ink

Is There A New Way to Treat Cancer?

January 17, 2011
By lbiggs2451 SILVER, Nashotah, Wisconsin
lbiggs2451 SILVER, Nashotah, Wisconsin
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

“You have cancer,” the doctor says. Millions of questions and answers formulate in your head after hearing the terrifying news.
Typically, extensive cancer treatment begins as soon as possible. There are various types of treatments: surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. According to the Slate article “Strange Medicine” written by Robert Bazell, “Traditional chemotherapy drugs, most often, kill all dividing cells; in addition to cancer cells, these often include hair follicles and the cells lining the intestine.” In other words, the traditional rigorous cancer treatment often targets the cancer itself, but also produces grueling side effects to the patient receiving the treatment. Side effects include hair loss and nausea.
But what if there were new cancer drugs that could reduce the grueling side effects and treat ONLY the cancerous site?
Such cancer drugs have been discovered. These drugs benefit patients across the country. There is a way to treat cancerous sites and leave the patient in a better physical state. If patients were to receive these drugs, hair loss and nausea would be just a few of the problems solved.
But one problem occurs with these new cancer drugs: the cost.
Drug pricing is protected by the acts of Congress. However, drug companies can charge whatever price they’d like. And unfortunately, the FDA is prohibited by law from considering prices when it approves a drug.
The federal government’s Center’s for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is currently in charge of regulating cancer drug prices, however, they have abandoned their role in doing so. Therefore, if CMS does not set up boundaries as for the costs of these drugs, according to the article, “private insurers will establish their own boundaries…” and if this may happen, private insurers will in turn limit the amount of situations in which they pay for cancer drugs, and patients who may benefit in using these drugs will suffer.
According to the article, “True, antibodies are more expensive to produce than most pills, but only slightly–the technology can be replicated in any college Biology lab. Production costs amount to a few dollars a dose at most.” How does it make it fair to price these drugs at such ridiculously high prices when those who are suffering and could benefit, and these cancer drugs can easily be produced in a college Biology lab?
Something must be done. Patients should not have to suffer anymore than they already have. If these cancer drugs could be produced in a college Biology lab, there is no excuse as to why drug companies should continue inflating the prices of these beneficial drugs. Drug companies already make enough money off of other drugs with their insane pricing. No one should be expected to worry about the cost of prescriptions and doctor visits while they are worrying about a life or death matter.

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