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Yale J Biol Med. 1992 Mar-Apr;65(2):83-97.

Cancer therapy: reimbursement of new therapeutic technologies.

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Aetna Life and Casualty Company, Employee Benefits Division, Middletown, Connecticut.


New drugs and technologies for cancer treatment are being developed at a rate that has created a reimbursement crisis. This article discusses third-party concerns about this problem and describes generic criteria that have proven to be useful in assessing any new technology. It is equally important to discontinue funding of ineffective and obsolete therapies as it is to devise a strategy for identifying and encouraging the development of new therapy that will be both clinically useful and cost-effective. Examples are provided to show that these are not necessarily mutually exclusive goals. Off-label application of standard therapy as well as the funding of new cancer therapy are considered. High-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem-cell support for treatment of a variety of neoplasms has become a major reimbursement challenge. Other technologies such as autolymphocyte therapy and use of colony-stimulating factors are considered in detail. Finally, a process for deciding how to fund new cancer therapy is described.

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