Memorial Sloan Kettering has announced that it will choose NOT to use one of the latest cancer treatments for colorectal cancer. The drug? Zaltrap. Rejected because of the funky name? No. Eschewed due to its cost? Yes, wholeheartedy says center representatives.
Zaltrap costs on average $11,063 per month of treatment or about twice as much as the older drug, Avastin. And, it has not proven to be any better than Avastin either. Doctors at Sloan argue that drugs need to prove themselves and they feel responsible for taking the financial consequences into account as well. Neither drug really knocks your socks off as they extend median life expectancy by a mere 1.4 months over standard chemotherapy.
So you can have Avastin for half the cost, with slightly fewer side effects and the clinical effect is very similar in terms of life extension. Sounds rational to skip its use then, eh?
No doubt this is the latest salvo in a battle that will rage on for some time -- especially if the Presidential race latches on to this issue.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Oct 15th 2012.