Saturday, July 21, 2012

$12.5 Billion Now Spent Each Year on Worthless Diabetes Drugs

The nationwide cost of diabetes treatment has nearly doubled from $6.7 billion in 2001 to $12.5 billion in 2007, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Chicago and published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. This increase has been fueled by the growing popularity of newer, more expensive drugs of questionable efficacy, the researchers said. "We found dramatic changes in the treatment patterns for diabetes during the past decade," author G. Caleb Alexander said. "This includes a remarkable change in drugs, as well as significant increases in costs. [But] the jury is still out as to whether these changes are worth it. The million dollar question is: Are these changes going to lead to overall significant improvement in the outcomes that matter to patients and their doctors?" Newer diabetes medications such as exenatide (marketed as Byetta) and sitagliptin (marketed as Januvia) can cost anywhere between 8 and 11 times as much as older, now-generic drugs. A single prescription of Byetta costs $210, and one of Januvia costs $160. But these newer medications remain largely untested, Alexander said. The FDA requires only relatively modest clinical trials before approving new drugs, meaning that the real tests only commence once the drugs start being prescribed to thousands of patients. "All too often, physicians and patients may tend to adopt newer therapies without sufficient evidence of their superiority or benefits over older, less expensive, more time-tested alternatives," Alexander said. Sometimes doctors only become aware of significant risks to new drugs after many patients have taken them. This was the case with the diabetes drug Avandia, which has been shown to significantly increase patients' risk of heart attack and death. Since its approval, the drug has had its label upgraded to include a "black box" warning from the FDA. In addition to more expensive drugs, the researchers noted that increasing prevalence of diabetes and a growing preference for aggressive treatment with multiple drugs have also contributed to the rising costs of diabetes care. Source -

No comments:

Post a Comment