Cancer medicines cost twice as much at hospitals, study finds

Katie Koziara
Katie Koziara January 21, 2020

Cancer medicines cost twice as much at hospitals, study finds.

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Cancer medicines cost nearly twice as much in hospital outpatient facilities than in physician offices in the commercial market, according to a new study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute Center for Research on Health Benefits Innovation. These cost differences were not driven by a difference in the severity of illness, but were driven by hospital pricing practices.

Cancer Medicines Cost Nearly Twice as much-1-1

The study also found:

  • Hospital outpatient facilities charged 1.3 to 4.3 times more than physician offices for cancer medicines. 

  • Employers and payers could save $9,766 per covered cancer patient in just one year if they paid physician office prices rather than hospital outpatient facilities prices for physician-administered cancer medicines. 

  • Employers could cut their medicine costs nearly in half without affecting quality of care if patients shifted toward physician offices, since nearly half of oncology therapy takes place in hospital outpatient facilities.

This study underscores just how much hospitals are driving health care spending in the United States by marking up medicines. A recent analysis found hospitals charge, on average, five times their cost for medicines, driving up cost sharing and premiums for patients across the country.

To learn more, read the study here and visit www.LetsTalkAboutCost.org

Topics: Cancer, Drug Cost, Hospitals, Let's Talk About Cost