Hospitals forced to pay 5 to 10 times more for cancer drugs

The cost of carboplatin and cisplatin — lifesaving chemotherapy medications — have skyrocketed, forcing some hospitals to pay five to 10 times more than before the drugs were reported in short supply in the United States, according to an Aug. 17 NBC News report.

"As the cancer drug shortage drags on, some smaller hospitals and cancer centers across the United States say some suppliers are jacking up the prices of the lifesaving medications," the news report said. 

Carboplatin, for example, typically comes with a $50 per vial price tag. Debbie Davis, director of clinical operations at Pacific Cancer Care in Monterey, Calif., told NBC News she had to find a new supplier who was charging $500 per vial. 

Pacific Care Care couldn't afford the price surge. 

Several other hospitals reported the same "price gouging," the report said, with hospital representatives saying the patients are the ones who suffer in the end because they do not have access to the cancer treatments they need.

"Paying 10 times more for a lifesaving cancer drug, or any other drug — I don't think it should be allowed," said Lucio Gordan, MD, a medical oncologist and president of the Fort Myers-based Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute. He said his clinics have seen prices on carboplatin jump from $29 to $365 per vial and cisplatin from $39 to just under $200 per vial.

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