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Doctors Blast Ethics Of $100,000 Cancer Drugs

A group of more than 120 cancer researchers and physicians took the unusual step this week of publishing a research paper taking aim at pharmaceutical prices they see as exorbitant and unjustifiable.

Drug companies are profiteering, the doctors say, by charging whatever the market will bear for medications that patients literally can’t live without.

The paper, published online in the American Society of Hematology’s medical journal Blood, analyzes and criticizes the cost of drugs used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), a rare type of cancer that responds very well to drug therapy. The 10-year survival rate for CML patients now tops 80% for those who receive targeted drugs — but the annual price tag for the treatment is usually in the six-figure range.

Those prices bear little relation to what the drugs actually cost to develop and produce, the doctors say. As an example, they zero in on the case of imatinib, a drug sold by Novartis (NVS) as Gleevec (in the U.S.) or Glivec (in most international markets).

Source: money.cnn

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