Bevacizumab is one of the most expensive drugs widely marketed. Doctors and editorials have criticized the high cost, for a drug that doesn't cure cancer but only prolongs life.
In the U.S., insurance companies have refused to pay for all or part of the costs of bevacizumab, and in countries with national health care systems, such as the UK and Canada, the health care systems have restricted its use because of the low ratio of benefits to cost.
Genentech argues that the benefit is worth the cost, and the high cost pays for the expensive and risky research needed to develop new drugs. Genentech has adjusted the price for patients in certain circumstances. In 2008, sales of Avastin were nearly $2.7 billion.
For colorectal cancer, Meyer wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine that bevacizumab extended life by 4.7 months (20.3 months vs. 15.6 months) in the initial study, at a cost of $42,800 to $55,000
The addition of bevacizumab to standard treatment can prolong the lives of breast and lung cancer patients by several months, at a cost of $100,000 a year in the United States.
Costs in other countries vary; in Canada it is reported to cost $40,000 CAD per year.
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