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27 Bumps

How much is a life worth? should insurance pay this?? would you?

BOSTON – Cancer patients, brace yourselves. Many new drug treatments cost nearly $100,000 a year, sparking fresh debate about how much a few months more of life is worth.

The latest is Provenge, a first-of-a-kind therapy approved in April. It costs $93,000 a year and adds four months' survival, on average, for men with incurable prostate tumors. Bob Svensson is honest about why he got it: insurance paid.

"I would not spend that money," because the benefit doesn't seem worth it, says Svensson, 80, a former corporate finance officer from Bedford, Mass.


Asked by sweet-a-kins at 10:05 PM on Sep. 26, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

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Answers (69)
  • As I said earlier, if spending only 93,000 a year gives you a quality of life for an extra 4 months of LIVING. That's a Bargain!

    Answer by Rnurse at 7:47 PM on Sep. 27, 2010

  • I see no point in that kind of money for four more months. I wouldn't take it.

    Answer by Carpy at 10:08 PM on Sep. 26, 2010

  • (to add on) in that four more month a cure could come that would let the person live another 10-20 yrs would you risk it

    Answer by veronicamw at 10:11 PM on Sep. 26, 2010

  • I agree with Carpy, at that point in my life...age 80, and having incurable cancer, with only months to live, I would embrace every moment I had left with my family. I'd rather leave my family the money in my estate than prolonging the inevitable, and if insurance was paying for it I would rather they spend the money on a child or young adult who still had a lot of life yet to live!!

    Answer by LoriKeet at 11:03 PM on Sep. 26, 2010

  • Life.

    I like to think it's important. I like to think it's sacred.

    I like to think I wouldn't blow that much money for a couple more months. But then, whose to say... to attend the weddings of my daughters? For them, if I had it, I'd spend it in a minute.

    And of course, the wealthy do get better treatment. From the basics... If I go out with hubby for a 'nice" dinner... it's maybe.... thirty dollars? And I'm mad? If my in laws go out for a "nice" dinner... it's hit three, four hundred dollars already.

    That's life. It can't be fair. Even if the laws were perfectly designed to distribute everything to the exact penny so everyone had the same... someone would always be friends with the person doing the dividing and get a bigger share.

    Answer by lovinangels at 10:40 PM on Sep. 26, 2010

  • This is really a tough question! Life is so precious to me, I want to absorb as much of it for as long as I can. But I think I would draw the line somewhere for myself. I know I wouldn't want to spend years in a coma "hoping" for a cure. For the patient above is 4 months and almost $100,000 borrowed from China worth it?

    It is a very tough call. IMO a call that should be left up to the patient and the doctor...with both of them deciding in a responsible manner and not just basing the decision on emotion.


    Answer by yourspecialkid at 10:49 PM on Sep. 26, 2010

  • if its a great im not in pain or prolonging to a painful dragged out death then money is no object!!!! im pregnant and dont want to miss my daughter and not see my husband again (hes deployed over seas)

    Answer by pinkdena at 10:07 PM on Sep. 26, 2010

  • I am not sure. I think the Pharma companies are able to produce them for cheaper but choose not too.....

    As drugs are mass produced this can be the case, but it isn't always the case.  However, this also has a lot to do with it:

    Part of why it costs so much is that it's not a pill cranked out in a lab, but a treatment that is individually prepared, using each patient's cells and a protein found on most prostate cancer cells. It is expensive and time-consuming to make.



    Answer by QuinnMae at 10:18 PM on Sep. 26, 2010

  • Of course there are plenty of things to live for. I wouldn't want to miss any of the important milestones that my children reach, whether it's 8th grade graduation, Prom, College graduation, weddings, or giving birth to their children. I don't know how to determine what is worth it. This, of course, is going to be a huge issue going forth (moreso than it is now). All of the baby boomers retiring and with an aging population will come a higher cost of medical care. I have no idea how this is going to work since the medical expenses alone will be outrageous.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 10:24 PM on Sep. 26, 2010

  • That is a decision between an individual their family and their doctor. If in that 4 months I could be in my daughters lives just that much more? Each day would and is priceless.

    Answer by grlygrlz2 at 11:19 PM on Sep. 26, 2010