real talk

A Costly Medicare Fail

Crusading New York Times business columnist Joe Nocera directs his trademark righteous indignation today at a cancer drug called Avastin. Initially heralded as a promising breakthrough in cancer treatment, the drug has since proven entirely ineffective in treating breast cancer. And yet insurers, including Medicare, have ignored the overwhelming science and continued to pay for breast-cancer patients to use it. The reason, Nocera says, is that no company wants to be cast as “heartless.” But the drug, which costs $90,000 a year, is a prime example of why health-care costs remain high. “If we’re not willing to say no to a drug like Avastin, then what drug will we say no to?”