JUST HOW MUCH Is A Life Worth?

The latest is Provenge, in April a first-of-a-kind therapy approved. 93,000 a year and adds four months’ survival, on average, for men with incurable prostate tumors. Bob Svensson is honest about why he got it: insurance paid. Svensson, 80, a previous corporate finance officer from Bedford, Mass. His supplemental Medicare plan is paying while the nationwide government decides whether basic Medicare will cover Provenge as well as for whom.

The tabs for taxpayers could be huge – prostate is the most common cancers in American men. Most of those people who have it will be qualified to receive Medicare, and Provenge will be an option for most late-stage instances. Svensson, who was simply treated at the Lahey Clinic INFIRMARY in suburban Boston. 5, a month 000. Only a few of these keep cancer in remission such a long time that they are, in places, cures.

For most people, the drugs may buy a few years or weeks. Insurance providers pay if Medicare will pay usually. But some people have lifetime caps and more folks are uninsured because of job layoffs in the recession. The nation’s new health care law eliminates these lifetime limitations for plans that were issued or restored on Sept. 10,000 a month; so can Genentech’s Avastin for several cancers.

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Now Dendreon Corp.’s Provenge rockets price into a new orbit. 93,000 gambles. It’s a one-time treatment to teach the disease fighting capability to battle prostate tumors, the first so-called cancers vaccine. Component of why it costs a lot is that it’s not a pill cranked out in a laboratory, but the cure that is independently prepared, using each patient’s cells and a protein found on most prostate malignancy cells.

It is expensive and time-consuming to make. It is also an issue, forcing the first rationing of the tumor drug since Taxol and Taxotere were approved 15 years ago. At the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, doctors plan a modified lottery to decide which of its 150 roughly eligible patients will be among both per month it can treat with Provenge.

An insurance pre-check is part of the process to ensure they economically qualify for treatment. M.D. Anderson’s prostate cancer tumor research main, Dr. Christopher Logothetis. 4,500-a-month drug by Novartis AG that maintains certain leukemias and stomach malignancies in remission. Three such cases were recently described in the New England Journal of Medicine, and those patients suffered relapses.

Retirements are being delayed to preserve insurance plan of cancer drugs. Holly Reid, 58, an accountant in Novato, Calif., hoped to retire early until she attempted cutting back on Gleevec and her cancer recurred. Lifetime caps on insurance benefits are hitting many patients, and laws are being pushed in dozens of states to get wider coverage of cancer drugs.