By: Jonathan Wilcox | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Having just hosted the latest of a decades-long string of presidential debates, St. Louis is rightfully proud of serving as a setting for vital national conversations. On Oct. 20, the Gateway City will be the site of another gathering that could also prove historically consequential — but in a way that should concern the millions of Americans with serious medical conditions.
A Boston-based nonprofit called the Institute for Clinical and Economic Research is convening a major policy meeting in St. Louis about how to control health care costs. Specifically, it will focus on how much to limit the price of life-saving medical drugs, as well as how to limit the inevitable harm — especially to patients — these policies could cause.
This is certainly a conversation worth having, but ICER has already reached its conclusions — and patients say they aren’t the right ones.
ICER is now taking aim at the medicines for one specific disease: Non-small-cell lung cancer, which affects more than 200,000 Americans every year. Its goal is to look at the various medications that treat the condition and then set its own arbitrary limits on spending for each. ICER actually did the same thing in St. Louis this year for medications treating multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer.
Sounds harmless, right? Wrong.
Jonathan Wilcox is the Co-Founder and Policy Director of Patients Rising and Patients Rising NOW. He is a fellow with the University of Southern California’s Unruh Institute of Politics and was a speechwriter for California Gov. Pete Wilson (R).