Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/1/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Costly drug Herceptin successfully lessens cancer risk at a $70,000 price tag

According to a final analysis of the Phase III HERA trial, pharmaceutical company Roche and the Breast International Group, patients in early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer should remain on Herceptin treatment for one year, and not two years or six months. The drug has been found to be tremendously beneficial - but at a very high cost, that puts it out of reach for many.

A full one-year course of Herceptin treatment costs a whopping $70,000. According to various media sources, Genentech has never explained why the drug is so expensive.

A full one-year course of Herceptin treatment costs a whopping $70,000. According to various media sources, Genentech has never explained why the drug is so expensive.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/1/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Breast cancer, Herceptin, cost, socialized medicine


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A breast cancer blockbuster medication, Herceptin had sales last year of $5.5 billion. Approximately one quarter of patients with breast cancer tumors which generate HER2, a protein which makes the disease much more aggressive and are treated with Herceptin.

The latest data from the Phase III HERA trial demonstrated that two years of treatment on Herceptin made no difference to patients' disease-free survival times, which is how long women recovered without the cancer being regenerated.

Followed up for an average of eight years, the trial showed that disease-free survival improvements and overall survival for those on Herceptin was statistically significant than those without. Roche added that "there were no safety findings in the trial."

"Herceptin has changed the lives of many people with HER2-positive early breast cancer by increasing their chance of cure. HERA is one of the largest and longest-running breast cancer trials and demonstrates our commitment to people with this aggressive disease," Hal Barron, M.D., Roche's Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Product Development, said.

"These results answer an important question and support current medical practice, where Herceptin treatment for one year is recommended and approved for people with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer."

Dr. Martine Piccart, Chair of Breast International Group, added "It's essential that our clinical trials help us understand just how long patients need to receive a particular treatment. These results give us both the evidence and the reassurance that it's not necessary to give patients with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer Herceptin for more than one year."

A full one-year course of Herceptin treatment costs a whopping $70,000. According to various media sources, Genentech has never explained why the drug is so expensive.

Australia has managed to knock the price down to $50,000. Several countries with universal health care, including the U.K., have had problems regarding price and including full Herceptin usage for breast cancer patients. In the U.K., the National Health Service pays for cancer medication -- patients get them free if they have been approved for payment by NICE, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. If not, the patient has to pay.

Cancer patients and advocacy groups from Ontario, Canada, eventually managed, after going to the highest levels in the courts, to get the Ontario Ministry of Health in July 2005 to agree to pay for Herceptin treatment.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Health

COUNTDOWN TO GLOBAL INFECTION: Hunt is on for 30,000 Ebola carriers worldwide Watch

Image of The father of three, Patrick Sawyer became the first American to die from the Ebola virus.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With the death of 40-year-old Patrick Sawyer, an American who contracted Ebola while caring for his sister with the virus, the hunt is on for people who may have been in contact. Officials hope to head of the deadly virus off at the pass - before it is too late. ... continue reading


THERE IS HOPE: Drug-resistant malaria has not yet spread to parts of Africa Watch

Image of While there have been significant reductions in the numbers falling ill and dying from the mosquito-borne disease, malaria still claims the lives of more than 600,000 people annually.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the western part of the African continent struggles with the spread of the horrifying Ebola virus, there is hope on the health front - albeit one that must be taken advantage of in the time allotted. Drug-resistant malaria has proved to be a serious threat ... continue reading


Ebola coming to America? American death from Ebola hammers home worldwide threat posed by disease Watch

Image of Patrick Sawyer has become the first American to die from the deadly Ebola virus.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

American Patrick Sawyer, who worked as a top government official in the Liberian Ministry of Finance, had been caring for his Ebola-stricken sister in Liberia. Returning home, he collapsed and died, the first known American to have perished from the deadly ... continue reading


A LOT OF TEETH! Doctors remove 232 teeth from mouth of teenager Watch

Image of Medicos have described the teenager's condition as

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

We've all had to suffer for several hours in a dental chair, but chances are that our worst experiences were nothing like that of an Indian teenager who had 232 teeth removed during a seven-hour operation. Now done to 28 teeth, the youth has a better chance for ... continue reading


SURPRISE! Study finds that obese kids in the U.S. see themselves as being skinny! Watch

Image of Curiously, researchers found that some obese children even believed that they were underweight.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Should it come as a surprise - or just another sad comment on the prevalence of obesity in the United States? A new study has found that children who are overweight or obese don't see themselves as being so. Researchers and medical experts says this needs to ... continue reading


NEW FEARS: Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome may be transmitted through air Watch

Image of In their research, scientists from King Fahd Medical Research Center in Saudi Arabia collected three air samples from a camel barn.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There are new fears that the rapidly spreading virus, Middle Eastern respiratory The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, or MERS, may be an airborne virus - making the disease highly easy to transmit, and get. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - To ... continue reading


Light at end of tunnel? HIV epidemic could be contained by 2030 Watch

Image of While HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, continues to be an ongoing threat - more so in developing nations where education about its transmission is compromised, there now appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, continues to be an ongoing threat - more so in developing nations where education about its transmission is compromised, there now appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. According to the United Nations, new HIV ... continue reading


Dye now being used to detect dementia Watch

Image of Researchers from Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, tested 152 patients older than 50 years of age to see if they could predict cognitive decline by tracking changes in the brain.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dementia, like Alzheimer's is a disease that usually effects the elderly. In the manner of Alzheimer's plaque begins to collect in the brain at an advanced age. This drastically effects the patient's memory, cognitive ability and motor skills, with many winding ... continue reading


Breakthrough announced in hereditary condition that causes blindness Watch

Image of The age at which symptoms start is variable and the rate of deterioration often varies. In around half of all cases there are other family members with the condition.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Retinitis pigmentosa, or RP is an inherited, degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment and frequently leads to blindness. Affecting around one in 3,000 to 4,000 people, scientists have moved closer to a breakthrough in "personalized" ... continue reading


Deadly plague than can be spread by coughing, sneezing infects Colorado man Watch

Image of Untreated plague is always fatal. Antibiotics have to be given within 24 hours of the first symptoms to reduce the chance of death.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's the first case of pneumonic plague seen in Colorado since 2004. A man there has been diagnosed with among the rarest and most fatal forms of the plague, an airborne version that can be spread through coughing and sneezing. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


All Health News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 26:1-9
1 At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:6, 8-10, 14
6 Those who hope in you must not be made fools of, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:54-58
54 and, coming to his home town, he taught the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 1st, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori
August 1: Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter