Study: $3B will be wasted on unused portion of cancer drugs

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

High prices for cancer medicines aren't the only reason they cost insurers and patients so much.

A study finds waste pads the bill, because infused cancer drugs are distributed in the U.S. in vials that usually contain more medicine than patients need. Most of the time that excess is thrown out, even though it's perfectly good — and worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York estimate that wasted cancer medicine in the U.S. this year will add up to nearly $3 billion in excess costs. More than $1.8 billion goes to drugmakers. The rest goes to doctors and hospitals, via the markups they charge for infusing the drugs.

The researchers hope federal regulators will take steps to reduce such waste.