Friday, August 04, 2006


I'll crunch some numbers...

the 52% was comparing a 11% chance of return with chemo (89% removal) and Herceptin with a 22% for chemo alone (78%).

Apparently there is a 11% increase in this "non reoccurrence of breast cancer" over 3 years attributable to the drug (i.e. 70,000 x 3 / 11% = about 1.9 million dollars per person as long as it is applied to early-stage, invasive, HER-2-positive breast cancer patients.

In addition the downside is heart failure in 1-4% of patients and heart problems in 10% (and potential additional problems with other drug combinations). So maybe 2.5% of those people are "unsaved"...

So the revised number would be 2.47 million per person who (hypothetically) exchanges breast cancer for presumably not too serious heart problems. This isn’t in itself a life saved because (A) the woman may have to keep taking the drug, and i presume they are still high risk (adding to the cost) and (b) having breast cancer wouldn’t be 1:1 with death.

I believe the government is willing to spend about 1 million or maybe a little more to prevent one road fatality. As such this drug probably fails to meet the cut off.
Drug company needs to sharpen their pencil and come back with a more reasonable price.

Anyway - from 400 women we would have 3.4 women prevented from having a reoccurrence of breast cancer by the drug at a cost of 8.4 million over 3 years. About 1 person per year (cumulative of course)


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