On the eve of the FDA’s Avastin announcement last night (and with no apparent reference to that important contextual point – although I acknowledge I didn’t see the entire newscast), the NBC Nightly News last night attempted to report on the problem some patients encounter in the face of an awful economy and astronomical cancer drug costs.
I didn’t see the newscast as it aired.
But this morning, a woman who is both a cancer survivor and an employee of the American Cancer Society sent me an email with the subject line, “Miracle! Cure! Marvel.”
“I came across a particular gem tonight while searching for coverage of the 6 month health reform provisions.
It’s a “miracle”. It “cures” cancer. It’s a “pharmaceutical marvel.” And it costs $5,000/month. Nowhere in this story about how the bad economy is making people have to choose between their life and their “life saving” drug, does the reporter address why on GOD’S GREEN EARTH any pill costs $5,000 a month! Oh but he does mention that the kind, kind pharmaceutical companies will help some people pay for it or find “some assistance”. Unless that “assistance” brings the cost down to $50 a month, I’m going to guess it’s still not enough.
[2017 Update: This video is no longer available]
Sometimes readers may think that I am too harsh in my criticism – especially of TV health news. But much of what I write about is inspired by what I hear from news consumers and health care consumers. It wasn’t just cooked up inside my head. The wisdom of the crowds – indeed, the wisdom of just one cancer survivor such as this woman – is often under-appreciated.