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The Chemo Concession Persists - Part II

Part 1 Here

"In sum, far from limiting access," the changes under the law "actually increased the likelihood that lung cancer patients received chemotherapy," said Dr. Mireille Jacobson of the RAND Corporation, who was first author on the study. (Disclosure: I serve as a reviewer of scientific studies for RAND.)


The authors chose to focus on lung cancer because of the various treatment options, some of which are considerably more expensive than others. They found that doctors frequently switched drugs to choose the more expensive options. There was, for instance, an increased use of docetaxel (Taxotere), a drug for which oncologist get reimbursed about $2,500 per patient per month.

The Chemo Concession Persists

A recent study provides evidence that some oncologists prescribe chemotherapy based on their financial reward rather than the medical needs of their patients. This is a continuation of the "Chemotherapy Concession," which came to public light a decade ago. It is a system, unique in the medical world, whereby oncologists can buy drugs at deep discount and then dispense them at the higher, Medicare rate in their offices. In effect, participating oncologists run a kind of pharmacy as a side business (although it is rarely identified as such to the patients).

Cancer expert tells how treatment can be problem

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette  02-24-10
Feb. 24--Max Wicha is coming to Pittsburgh today to deliver a startling message.

Standard cancer treatments not only often fail to eradicate cancer, but can make it worse.
That argument isn't coming from a fringe proponent of alternative medicine, but from the founder of the University of Michigan's Comprehensive Cancer Center and a pioneer in research on why cancers recur and spread to other parts of the body.

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