Taking a Long-Term View on Cost of Care

Taking a Long-Term View on Cost of Care

03.31.14 | By Kaelan Hollon

This month, a New York Times editorial discussed the cost of a new drug to treat hepatitis C. The opinion piece took a short-term view of treating the disease, noting that a panel of experts concluded that the drug offered “low value” for treating most patients, in large part due to its cost.

In response to the piece, our President and CEO John Castellani penned a letter to the editor explaining the impact of failing to look at the larger health care picture can be incredibly detrimental for patients, their families and the broader health care ecosystem. With hepatitis C, for example, taking a pill everyday for 12 weeks is much less intrusive in the long-term than countless hospital visits, surgeries and the recovery periods from those experiences. Many patients suffering from this disease ultimately require a liver transplant, which not only costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, but also means a mentally and physically taxing recovery.

Bringing a new medicine to market is certainly a costly, time-intensive endeavor. It takes approximately 10 to 15 years and an average of $1.2 billion to develop new medicines for patients. As John Castellani emphasized in his letter to the editor, basing a medical decision on cost alone shortchanges patients and families. “While the cost of health care can be high,” he concluded, “the cost of untreated disease has been demonstrated to be much higher.”

 

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