Cancer treatments

Pharmaceutical investments in cancer drugs soar despite few results

Small bottles filled with a sterile cancer drug.
Small bottles filled with a sterile cancer drug. Photo: Hendrik Schmidt/Getty Images

Pharmaceutical investment in cancer treatments has risen drastically over the past decade, as has spending on cancer drugs, but the results have been comparatively small, UC Hastings law professor Robin Feldman argues in a WashPost op-ed.

Why it matters: Every dollar invested in cancer is a dollar that isn't invested elsewhere — for example, in antibiotics.

Medicare will now cover a costly cell therapy for cancer patients

A lab tech handles a CliniMACS Prodigy automated device used for cell processing
A lab tech handles a CliniMACS Prodigy automated device used for cell processing. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has been hailed as a major advance in clinical cancer care. Photo: GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced yesterday that Medicare will cover the innovative but expensive cancer treatment CAR-T, providing "consistent and predictable patient access nationwide," CMS administrator Seema Verma said.

By the numbers: The treatment, which is customized for each individual patient, costs $375,000 or $475,000, depending on the type of cancer, the Washington Post notes. The overall cost can rise by hundreds of thousands of dollars when hospital stays are factored in.