FDA Approves Pricey New Breast Cancer Drug
Full course of Roche's Kadcyla will cost $94K
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 22, 2013 12:20 PM CST
A file photo of Swiss pharmaceutics company Roche in Basel, Switzerland.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Steffen Schmidt)

(Newser) – The FDA has approved a first-of-a-kind breast cancer medication that targets tumor cells while sparing healthy ones. The drug Kadcyla from Roche combines the established drug Herceptin with a powerful chemotherapy drug and a third chemical linking the medicines together. The chemical keeps the cocktail intact until it binds to a cancer cell, delivering a double-shot of anti-tumor poison. Cancer researchers say the drug, which will cost nearly $10,000 a month, may offer a clear advantage over older drugs because it delivers more medication with fewer side effects.

The FDA approved the new treatment for about 20% of breast cancer patients with a form of the disease that is typically more aggressive and less responsive to hormone therapy. These patients have tumors that overproduce a protein known as HER-2. The approval will help Roche's Genentech unit build on the blockbuster success of Herceptin, which has long dominated the breast cancer marketplace. The drug had sales of roughly $6 billion last year. Genentech said Kadcyla will cost $9,800 per month, compared to $4,500 per month for regular Herceptin. The company estimates a full course of Kadcyla, about nine months of medicine, will cost $94,000.

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Showing 3 of 6 comments
Feb 23, 2013 8:50 PM CST
This med does NOT cure. All it does is maybe give you a few more days on this planet. Only outfit that really benefits from all this is the company that makes the drug and markets it at that outrageous price. My gut feeling is that we should just take the drug and stuff it up their greedy asses.
Feb 23, 2013 7:26 PM CST
I bet if it was penis cancer medication it would cost $10 a month.
Feb 22, 2013 9:15 PM CST
10k a month you say? Just in time for Obama care.