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Center for Medicine in the Public Interest Challenges Accuracy of 60 Minutes Cancer Story

October 10, 2014
This week, the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest issued a press release criticizing CBS' "60 Minutes" segment on cancer treatment prices as not just distorted but 'dead wrong.'

"Featuring physicians that argue that treatment prices are too high does not change the fact that the cost of cancer drugs are about 12 percent of what health insurers spend on cancer or that new cancer drugs actually save health insurers money. Yet insurers are increasing oral therapy cost-sharing requirements to actively encourage patients to use infusible products," said Robert Goldberg, Vice President for Research of CMPI.

As stated in the release, 'Spending on cancer treatments has climbed from $24 billion in 2004 to about $40 billion today. But such treatments represent only 0.6 percent of U.S. healthcare spending, and that proportion has been fairly consistent for the last several decades.'

Medical innovation is largely responsible for a 40 percent increase in cancer survivors (from 9.8 million to 13.6 million) since 2004. Since 2004, the use of new therapies saved $188 billion on hospitalizations, and avoided nearly $100 billion in lost productivity each year. Since 1990, new cancer drugs have helped generate 51 additional years of life, worth nearly $5 trillion, according to the release.

The CMPI website -Value of Medical Innovation - highlights the role new medicines play in patients' lives. The CMPI press release can be found here.