Maya B. Wisconsin

The High Prices of Cancer Treatments

Finding a way to make cancer treatments more affordable.

Dear Mr. or Mrs. President,

I am writing this letter to you, as a person whose family has been through the struggles of having to pay for cancer treatments, because I strongly believe the rising costs for the treatment of cancer have a devastating effect on many of the families in America.

Cancer has a significant impact on millions of people economically, emotionally, and physically every year. According to, the typical American family earned $55,775 in 2015. Many of the treatments and drugs that go into helping attack the cancer are at a high cost that leave many cancer patients and their families in debt. For example, Provenge is a treatment that is clinically proven to help extend life in men with prostate cancer. It is an immunotherapy treatment, but each session costs $31,000, and the full cost for three sessions is $93,000. That's a huge financial burden for the average American family.

But rather than coming to the aid of families, drug companies are actually raising the prices for treatments and medications for patients with cancer. These rising prices are draining the banks accounts of millions Americans every year. The cancer industry is gaining huge profits for pharmacy and drug companies allowing them to continuously raise prices on new drugs claiming that “high” prices are necessary to develop new drugs, even though some medical authorities believe that to be untrue. 

It's true that public funding and subsidies pay for much of today’s pharmaceutical innovation (Cone & Offenheiser). Public funding and subsidies are a good way to take the pressure of many individual families and still support funding for the Pharmaceutical companies.  So many people and so much money is being poured into finding a cure for cancer and donating money for researchers yet it seems like we are all waiting on the edge of our seat waiting for news that there has been a cure discovered or that prices and treatments will be more affordable for all. The race to find a cure for cancer has been obscured by the greediness of the cancer industry to make money out of this disease.  According to Health news many drug companies have been raising the prices of treatments and drugs by more than 50%: "As recently as last August, Rodelis Therapeutics purchased the rights to the tuberculosis drug cycloserine, promptly bumping its price up from $500 to $10,800 for 30 capsules" (Harding). The cancer industry, pharmaceutical companies which a lot of money has been poured into, has become one of the most powerful businesses in the United States because their drugs that pharmaceutical companies sell are very expensive and ineffective. Not only are these cancer treatments expensive, but they are time consuming.

Three years ago my grandfather got prostate cancer, and I know how much of an effect it had on my family. It was a long, expensive and time-consuming process that took an emotional toll on my whole family especially my mom. My mom didn’t work for that year, spending her time helping my grandparents. Like many other families whose loved one got cancer, there was a lot of money poured into the cancer industry to race to find a cure. 

Everyday families are crippled with the rising costs of healthcare. The cancer industry in particular has left many families with a lifetime of debt. Pharmaceutical companies are thriving off the money they make from the cancer industry. As the future president I encourage you to try and find a way for pharmaceutical companies to research and create new drugs for cancer without draining the bank accounts of millions of Americans.



Madison Country Day School

English 10

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