The FDA approved a new drug, ipilimumab, for patients with metastatic melanoma. Advanced melanoma is a terrible condition for which there is little in the way of effective treatment. Ipilimumab clearly improves outcomes of this horrible disease with improvement in median survival from 6 months to 10 in patients with advanced melanomas.
While the 6 month to 10 month median improvement is nothing to sneeze at, it isn’t a very high cure rate. And the cost of the drug: over $100,000 for a course of treatment. Is it worth it?
If I had advanced melanoma and a 3rd party way paying the cost of my medical care, I would say it was worth it. If I were paying myself? I’m not so sure. The high, high cost for drugs that provide marginal benefits is illustrative of the main problem with have with U.S. health care. Health care reform efforts that don’t address this central problem are going to solve our crisis. To learn more, visit http://www.drscore.com/downloads/Health_Care_Primer.pdf.