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Megan McArdle

Cutting the Cost of Cancer

Someone has to pay for all the research. But who can?
A very expensive needle in a haystack.

A very expensive needle in a haystack.

Photographer: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images/Cancer Research UK

How much should we pay for cancer drugs?

The answer, in the past, has frequently been "How much you got in your pockets? That, plus 10 percent." Insurers and patients have been pushing back on the high cost of drugs, negotiating lower rates and switching to generic treatments. But cancer is special. It's hard to be a discriminating shopper when someone tells you that you have 18 months to live.