The Phenomenon of Financial Toxicity: Healthcare’s Insatiable Disease
Ever-increasing pharmaceutical drug costs are garnering greater attention in the United States. Despite pleas for increased regulation of the pharmaceutical market among many policymakers, there have been no concrete legislative proposals to date, and none are in the foreseeable future. This article contemplates the seriousness of this uncontrolled trend and explores how to hinder the growing pharmaceutical drug cost crisis. Recognition of what has become known as “financial toxicity,” the negative effect of a pharmaceutical drug’s price on the mortality and overall health of a patient undergoing treatment, is only the first step, but an all- important one. Expensive drugs do not guarantee the best treatment. When a patient’s health is negatively impacted because of a drug’s high cost, that cost must be a critical consideration in determining what treatment is available. Consideration of a drug’s cost, unfortunately, is as yet still unconventional. Financial toxicity must be examined in preventing bad care. Too often, expensive care is bad care because too many patients cannot afford the medication available. In applying the concept of financial toxicity, significant progress is made in preventing expensive care from becoming bad care.