Dr Joshua Richter Discusses Patient Financial Burden of New Treatments and Cures

Right now is a critical time for the healthcare industry to evaluate how patients are financially burdened by novel treatments that can provide tremendous outcomes, said Joshua R. Richter, MD, of the John Theurer Cancer Center.

As new, more expensive treatments improve survival, how can clinicians identify and address the burden of financial toxicity?
I think this is something that's really critical and is becoming more and more of an issue that we can no longer, as physicians, bury our heads in the sand, and need to, kind of, understand where the difficulty comes in with this. We have a lot of new drugs and these drugs may offer many of our patients tremendous outcomes, but there is also a significant amount of financial burden that does come across, not only to the patient, but to their family. And while some of this is simply perceived by the patient, some of this can be quite real, and patients often plunge themselves into deep financial troubles in order to support the care for their own disease, and this may affect their family, as well.

So, this is really kind of a critical time for us to evaluate things on a global standpoint. Yes, we need to be concerned about the system as a whole, but we need to get more granular, and focus on what are the deleterious effects that we're seeing on a patient-by-patient level in terms of the financial burden that we're seeing with these great new therapies.
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