In the past year and a half, there have been three drugs approved by the FDA for use in men with advanced prostate cancer who have stopped responding to hormone therapy. They are the first new drugs to be approved since 2004 that have been shown to increase the length of survival in men with advanced prostate cancer.
That is, of course, great news for men with prostate cancer.
The drugs have been receiving a great deal of attention both inside and outside the healthcare world not only because they represent significant steps forward in the fight against prostate cancer, but also because they carry very large price tags.
The three drugs (Provenge, Zytiga, and Jevtana) each costs tens of thousands of dollars over the course of just a few months. Additionally, many men may receive more than one of these medications in succession in hopes of further increasing their survival - thus greatly increasing the price tag per patient.
In recent weeks, several prominent media outlets, politicians, and government agencies have cast their attention on these new, expensive prostate cancer treatments. Expect much more scrutiny of pricey treatments in the coming months as increasing health care costs become even more center stage for the U.S.