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Finally a Personal Medical Tool to Evaluate Drug Benefits
By: Cindy Wendland
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From past health situations, we learned that the medical system is difficult to traverse. We learned the family needs to be the advocate for the patient. We also learned that the patient will receive better care if you never leave your family member’s side during their hospital stay. Now there is a tool doctors are developing that will help the patient and family evaluate if a medicine is worth it. It’s about time.

For those families that have had to undergo cancer care, the cost of treatment can be overwhelming and further debilitating. Doctors believe that the increasing cost of cancer medicines are not proportionately increasing the value and health benefits for the patients. So they are devising “a formula doctors can work through with patients to get a bottom line on the survival benefit, side effects and costs of a new treatment or combo versus older ones.” That puts the patient more in control without having to hold a PhD to understand their treatment.

This formula is a prototype for four situations - lung or prostate cancer that has spread, advanced multiple myeloma and a common type of breast cancer. For people that fall in those categories, this news can bring knowledge, comfort and value. This is a great way for doctors to market themselves and offer a better level of care. It personalizes treatment and allows the patient to be more involved.

In the past, people accepted the information provided to them on medicines. Pharmaceutical companies are facing pressure from all sides – from the FDA, doctors and patients. Doctors and patients can now make informed decisions on some products that affect their quality of life, longevity and financial impact of treatment. It’s a great development.

To view or comment: http:// www.asco.org/value

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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