Wednesday, December 7, 2016
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 

WCN Site Search

Preview the Paper Preview the Paper

Preview this week's Paper
A limited number of pages are displayed in this preview.
Preview this Week’s Issue ›
Subscribe Today ›

Lost & Found

VideoPlease help me find my dog. His name is Archie and was last seen on black jack road. My contact information is,210.919.0183
*Includes FREE photo online!

Videomissing black lab. please return small cash reward. no questions asked. his family miss him very much 2818256707.
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

Seeking individual to work in a local child-care center, paid holidays, etc., must be high school grad or GED. Apply in person at Cubs Country Childcare, 212 FM 1346 in La Vernia.
*Fair Housing notice. All help wanted advertising in this newspaper is subject to the Fair Housing Act which makes it illegal to advertise "any preference limitation or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or an intention, to make any such preference limitation or discrimination." This newspaper will not knowingly accept any advertising for help wanted ads, which is in violation of the law. Our readers are hereby informed that all dwellings advertised in this newspaper are available on an equal opportunity basis.
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos

Video Vault ›


Extra! Extra! Researchers Protest Doctor Salaries

E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story

The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or
March 30, 2016 | 1,240 views | Post a comment

Thomas P. Stossel, M.D.

The average cancer specialist brings home nearly $300,000. One in ten earns more than $500,000. Considering cancer's stubbornly high death rate, say 118 of the nation's most prominent drug producers, such high compensation doesn't make sense.

They have jointly called on Congress to step in with salary caps for oncologists.

Sound farfetched? That's because it is.

Yet this past summer, 118 cancer doctors issued a blistering criticism of high drug costs in The Mayo Clinic Proceedings and called on lawmakers to impose price controls. Weeks later, some of these oncologists took to the pages of JAMA Oncology to suggest a "reasonable price" for treating lung cancer patients with necitumumab, a new drug under development. Based on number crunching of arbitrary and subjective "value" assessments, the doctors determined that $1309 would be an appropriate price based on the two-month life extension the drug seems, on average, to confer.

Price controls on drugs are every bit as absurd as a nationwide salary cap for cancer physicians, who, by and large, are competent and compassionate and deserve decent pay for the difficult work they perform do. Both measures would be harmful for patients.

Yet many on Capitol Hill are prepared to adopt this approach for advanced pharmaceuticals in a misguided effort to lower costs. Lawmakers are savvy enough to dress up their push for price caps by using coded language like "importation" and "negotiations," of course. But whether price controls are imported by way of Canada or hoisted upon the nation through Medicare, the result is the same: Fewer new therapies.

The reason that drug prices are sometimes high is that they reflect a huge, private research and development investment required to create a new medication. Since 1950, the R&D cost of each new approved medication has doubled every nine years. It now stands at $2.6 billion, on average. That figure takes into account a grim reality: What it costs to develop and produce any particular drug and that drug's clinical value bear little relationship to what it takes to sustain drug development in general.

Since over 90 percent of drugs never reach the market -- because they fail to work or cause dangerous side effects -- the prices of the few drugs that succeed must cover the cost of the losers. The "reasonable price" proposed for necitumumab therapy wouldn't come close to achieving that goal.

Physician reimbursement and drug pricing do have some similar features.

Physicians' pay must account for the high cost of medical training, as well as the lost earnings from years spent in medical school and post-graduate programs. And government or private payers -- who benefit from lower drug prices -- make every effort to constrain financial returns to both doctors and drug companies.

A big difference between doctors and drugs, however, is that physicians don’t have to subsidize rare medical school dropouts -- whereas the drug companies must pay for the much greater drug failure rate.

America is a caring and wealthy society. No one wants the suffering caused by cancer compounded by financial ruin from the cost of treatment. But the solutions being peddled by the political class today would be laughed out of the arena if applied to other areas of medicine, such as doctor pay.

Dr. Stossel is American Cancer Society Professor of Medicine at Harvard and a visiting scholar of the American Enterprise Institute.
‹ Previous Blog Entry

Your Opinions and Comments

Be the first to comment on this story!

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Not a subscriber?
Subscriber, but no password?
Forgot password?

Commentaries Archives

Commentaries page
Commentaries who represents me?
Friesenhahn Custom WeldingTriple R DC ExpertsVoncille Bielefeld homeAllstate & McBride RealtyHeavenly Touch home

  Copyright © 2007-2016 Wilson County News. All rights reserved. Web development by Drewa Designs.