60 Minutes, the most successful news program in American history, just took aim at the extraordinarily high ($100,000 per patient per year) prices charged for cancer drugs. The pharmaceutical industry, which only provided canned statements and badly thought-out explanation via the president of its lobbying group, came off looking callous and insensitive.
Here’s what 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl had, none of it new: first she chronicled how two doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Peter Bach and Leonard Saltz, decided that the hospital would not pay for Sanofi’s Zaltrap, which cost $11,063 a month, for colon cancer, because it was more expensive than Roche’s Avastin but no better. Then she spoke to Hagop Kantarjian, of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, who co-authored an editorial in the hematology journal Blood, decrying the high prices of drugs like Gleevec, from Novartis and Sprycel from Bristol-Myers Squibb BMY -2.62% for rare blood cancers. A complete transcript of the segment, as well as the video itself, can be found here.Read More