Sep 7, 2017

Value isn't just about surviving cancer

From our Expert Voices conversation on drug pricing.

The recent FDA approval of CAR T-cell therapy is a major milestone in the longstanding effort to cure childhood cancer, once almost uniformly fatal.

The problem: Today childhood leukemia is treatable in most cases and 80% of children survive longer than five years. Unfortunately, early exposure to radiation and chemotherapy can have devastating long-term health impacts for childhood cancer survivors. Up to a third of long-term survivors will suffer from at least one life-threatening or debilitating medical problem caused by their "curative" treatment, which can include secondary cancers, severe cardiovascular disease, infertility, and endocrine disorders. Thus, many are trading one difficult disease for a lifetime battling numerous health problems.

Why it matters: Because they selectively target tumor cells and spare normal cells, new therapies like CAR-T presumably will result in less damage to normal tissues and cause fewer long-term health problems. They offer incredible hope to a new generation of childhood cancer patients that they can not only be cured, but can look forward to a productive life without additional health burdens.

The bottom line: While the upfront cost of these new therapies are high, any consideration of value should take into account the health care savings generated by an overall healthier and productive population of childhood cancer survivors.

Other voices in the conversation:

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Teenager killed after shots fired at protesters in Detroit

Detroit police during protests on Friday night. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images

A 19-year-old man was killed on Friday night after shots were fired into a crowd of demonstrators in downtown Detroit who were protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, per AP.

Details: The teenager was injured when shots were fired from an SUV about 11:30 p.m. and later died in hospital, reports MDN reports, which noted police were still looking for a suspect. Police said officers were not involved in the shooting, according to AP.

Go deeper: In photos: Protesters clash with police nationwide over George Floyd

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Protesters clash with police nationwide over George Floyd

Police officers grapple with protesters in Atlanta. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray as the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd spread nationwide on Friday evening.

The big picture: Police responded in force in cities ranging from Atlanta to Des Moines, Houston to Detroit, Milwaukee to D.C. and Denver to Louisville. In Los Angeles, police declared a stretch of downtown off limits, with Oakland issuing a similar warning.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court sides with California on coronavirus worship service rules

The Supreme Court has ruled 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court's liberal justices, to reject a challenge to California's pandemic restrictions on worship services.

Why it matters: This is a setback for those seeking to speed the reopening of houses of worship, including President Trump.