April 28, 2016 – Toxic Cost


Anchor lead: Many people with cancer report a toxic financial burden, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Money looms large in the minds of a significant percentage of people with cancer, along with all the other concerns they have about their disease, a recent study concludes, largely focused on paying for treatment. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, describes how this happens.

Nelson: So all of this is coming up with a typical cancer patient getting outpatient treatment of a premium priced, new, more effective drug, has significant out of pocket burdens at most of our cancer centers and these are challenging to many people who are underinsured.  :16

Nelson says the numbers are sobering.

Nelson: Thirteen percent of the nonelderly spend as much as one-fifth of their income should they suffer it.  Something like a third of everyone with cancer has significant financial concerns associated with their treatment.   :12

Nelson says some compromise between insurance companies and the biotech industry is likely needed to ease the burden for many.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.