Cancer drug price chart from Dr. Peter Bach at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York City.

How much do cancer drugs cost?

We’re into transparency, so we followed up from a recent New York magazine piece to find this chart. It’s the prices of cancer drugs.

Chart of drug prices including price at time of FDA approval and 2013 price. This is apparently the Medicare reimbursement rate, which for 2005-2013 is 106% of the Average Sales Price at the time of approval, according to information on the site. The average sales price is reported by the manufacturer. This seems to reward manufacturers for setting high prices. Also, we are aware that the sales price and the price that’s paid by a provider can be very different, because providers negotiate the best price they can in every case, and there’s no reason to believe that it’s the list price because the list price is so often meaningless in this marketplace.

How Medicare prices drugs — valuable because Medicare reimbursement rates are the closest thing to a fixed or benchmark price in the marketplace:

The MSK website page where all this info and related info lives is here. It also has a link to Dr. Bach’s often-quoted 2009 New England Journal of Medicine article about how Medicare is unable to control rising spending on cancer drugs.

Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...