The price of chemotherapy depends on the type and stage of cancer, the quantity of dosage and the seed of chemotherapy administered.

Usually, the cost of this cancer treatment in India depends on how chemotherapy is given to the patients.

The chemotherapy expenditure each session in India ranges from ₹55,000 to ₹2,70,000.

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■ The High Cost of Chemotherapy Drugs

The perk in survival over other treatment arms was 3 to 4 months in previously treated patients and two and a half months in previously untreated patients.

The cost is 91,40,611 for 4 doses. As astonishing a figure, the drug is hardly alone in its lifted price since the immense cost of contemporary cancer drugs signals even greater costs for future chemotherapy drugs.

In a healthcare distribution structure in which third-party payers (government or private firms) cover the costs of cancer treatment, the guaranteed people have a presumed and legal right of access to all the drugs that are approved.

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The painful price of cancer drugs poses at least three significant problems:

 (i). The total cost to society will become increasingly prohibitive if every drug with statistically significant but clinically inessential benefit is approved.

 (ii). It becomes problematic for insurance companies to price policy premiums accurately because the compliance, clinical acceptance, and incorporation of high-cost new drugs are unpredictable and different.

 (iii). Almost all approved cancer drugs, after some time used for conditions and settings not authorized by the FDA (i.e., off-label use).

The statistics to support these indications are almost always less rigorous than those used to gain FDA approval.

Off-label use may boost expenditures on a drug that offers little or no fruitfulness.

For the patients treated for cancer, the median out of pocket expenditure for patients with private insurance was approximately 1,14,251 rupees from 2003 to 2004, with 25% of patients spending slightly more than rupees 3,80,837.

The increasing burden of chemotherapy costs patients in India looking to the United States and the European Union for guidance on effective treatment of chemotherapy options.

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Why is chemotherapy so expensive?

 (i). It is very costly to advance findings from bench to bedside and execute all the regulatory studies to attain approval.

 (ii). Because most cancers are incurable, patients are treated with each approved agent (back-to-back or in combination) by creating a digital monopoly.

Using one drug does not automatically mean that the other drugs are no longer needed.

 (iii). Even when the monopoly is broken with the arrival of new and improvised versions of the approved medication, the older (and by now generic) drug tends to be seen as substandard treatment, thereby sustaining the situation.

 (iv). The very nature of cancer, and the seriousness of the diagnosis, play a crucial role in that patients are often willing to pay the high price of treatment even for marginal improvements in outcome.

■ Chemotherapy machines costs

 (i). The machines and equipment used for cancer treatment by chemotherapy are expensive because of their installation and maintenance, which get added up into the final bill of the patients whenever they get chemotherapy done.

 (ii). Further, different machines are used for different types of cancer. Therefore, the price differs for every patient, which affects the total cost of the treatment.

■ The treatment plan for chemotherapy

 (i). The price of the chemotherapy treatment is determined as per the treatment plan made by the doctor. Which is not solid; it’s made up by the Indian doctors.

 (ii). The type of treatment and, the doses, the duration of the period are distinguishable for every patient according to their health.

Sometimes, amalgam gives medicines, which also heat the cost.

■ Place of the treatment

 (i). The cost of chemotherapy in India depends on where it is given, i.e. the cost would be lesser in government hospitals than in private hospitals in India.

 (ii). In private hospitals, the cost will be high compared to government hospitals. Also, the old hospitals in this industry and have tremendous experience will cost more than new hospitals.

■ The cost of blood tests for Chemotherapy

 (i). When you go to the hospital or clinic, the first thing you have each time is a blood test which costs 4000-5000 rupees.

■ Area of cancer

 The price may be different depending on the organ affected by cancer.

Few of the organs are very difficult to treat and require high doses of chemotherapy drugs plus advanced equipment to operate them, thereby increasing the costs.

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■ Development of high-cost chemotherapy drugs

 (i). Chemotherapy drug development costs are very high. Many years and millions of rupees are spent in preclinical research to recognise a medicine compound and generate preclinical data.

 (ii). The complexity of clinical research mandates careful administration of trials, large patient sample sizes, and extended follow-up, all of which are costly.

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