Free «Impact of Economic Scarcity on Cancer Drugs » Essay Sample

Impact of Economic Scarcity on Cancer Drugs


Due to the global economic crises, coupled with high food and fuel prices in the international markets, people have been faced by economic hardships thus forcing them to make trade offs arising from these economic scarcity. This have as affected patients who face terminal illnesses such as HIV/Aids, cancer among others notable diseases due to the spiraling drug prices globally. This paper will candidly examine the impact of increased cost cancer drugs which have affectted the choices of patients suffering from this disease.

Factors affecting the cost of cancer drugs

It is worth noting that the cost of drugs has drastically risen in the recent years. As indicated by Bruce &Thomas (2008), cancer drugs have been a big business. World wide sales have been projected to have reached US$ 70 Billion and have been projected to increase by 34% in the next five years. This is a clear indication that, the demands for these drugs have increased despite the unrelenting efforts by many governments around the world to reduce cancer illnesses. In countries such as India, China among other Asian countries, cancer cases have almost tripled in the last decade due to the poor eating habits, use of chemicals in growing foods and lack of awareness on methods of preventing and treating the disease at early stages among others. Lack of competition among the players in this field has also increased the drug cost. This is due to the fact that, new companies in this sector faces stiff barriers to entry due to the high capital required among other factors. Companies such as Pharmatalia and BBMS (Bristol-Myers Squibb) have been able to almost monopolize this field thus higher drug prices.

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Effects of government involvement

It is evident that involvement of government on health insurance and drug factors has increased the cost of cancer drugs in the international markets. Lichtenfeld ( 2010), indicates that the drug price have raised due to hidden taxes on health insurance  resulting to  inadequate reimbursements to the providers . This results to increased drug costs for those people who have private insurance. Government involvement programs on areas such as cancer drug research as well as health insurance   raises prices for all the other people by at least 10% thus forcing the patients to seek for alternative for treatments like the herbal means.

Further, it has been found that, risk reward ratio by the government   to companies  that are engaged in discovery of cancer drugs and development have remained unfavorable especially in  developed countries such as US, Europe among other countries. Simoens (2009), in US, the cancer drug industry spends more than US$ 1 billion for every compound that reaches the market in terms of failed drugs. As a result of this, companies must be compensated through the government health insurances schemes a factor that would drastically reduce the cost of cancer drugs.

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Impact of cost of medical therapy

The cost of cancer drugs and therapy has risen due to the pricing strategies being used by most companies across the globe. Due to this, companies selling antibiotics have been able to attain annual sales revenues of at least US$ 1Bliion. This has resulted from the high cost of medical therapy approximated to be US$ 3500 for every treatment cycle for small molecules to US 9000 for every treatment cycle for antibiotics. The high cost of medication have resulted to 25% increase in deaths  from cancer disease as  many patients are not able to seek  for treatment  due to economic hardships current being faced across the world.  


To fully cater for patients suffering from cancer diseases, it is essential   that the cost of drugs are minimized through  effecting pricing policies, government involvement,  reduced barriers for entry to increase competition and expertise among other notable factors.