I followed the link posted to this article. It seems the health care provider that gave this patient Kadcyla has a markup on it that is significantly higher than what Roche/Genentech sell it for. Kadcyla sells for $9,800 per month (which is one dose). I believe the normal course of treatment is 12 or 14 months, but that does not matter much here. This health care provider (according to this article) charged this patient $44K for this single treatment. What the article does not give is a break down of all of the costs that go into that $44K bill, so it makes it sounds as if it is the drug only that costs that much. Medicare says they would cover $9,000 toward the cost of the drug, so out of pocket to the patient is $800 just for the drug. So the hospital is padding the bill with a lot of other items here. Rather than blaming the drug company perhaps folks should question what the hospital is charging for all of these other incidental costs and asking if those are justified.
In comparison, Herceptin cost is $4,500 per month. In addition to that cost there are a variety of other costs associated with Herceptin treatment. Drugs to treat adverse events, and any chemo drugs that are given along with Herceptin. Roche/Genentech takes those associated costs into account when the priced kadcyla, which can be given as a single mono-therapy. The cost to make Kadcyla has to be higher than Herceptin, it is Herceptin plus the cost of the entire conjugation to DM1 as well.
The patient, Terry Bennett is a male. His HER-2 positive cancer is Ampillary adenocarcinoma, targeting his biliary tract, the common anatomical term for the path by which bile is secreted by the liver then transported to the first part of the small intestine.