My mom is currently receiving Opdivo every other week and the hospital is billing $11,000 and change a pop for the medication. That's the invoice cost of just the drug, so yes that comes out to over $250,000 per year for 26 treatments.
I had a look at my mom's recent hospital billing statements, of course they are not easy to read. It appears that each for treatment the charge for the drug is $11,000 and this occurs every two weeks. For a year that is over $250,0000, more than I had heard thrown around previously.
Luckily it is covered by her insurance and I honestly don't know the stated cost, as she has been in a well enough state to handle her finances. My aunt hinted that it is close to $20,000 per four treatments.
My aunt (a nurse practitioner) was with my mom at the oncologist and conveyed to me that the mark is in the armpit area, not the lung. My mom handled the treatments surprisingly well without suffering the major side effects. Never had any major bathroom issues, never felt nauseous, had some shortness of breathe for a week or two. It was difficult for her to eat a lot of food she likes as everything tastes funny or spicy.
In December of 2014 my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer it was also prevalent in her back. The growth on her lungs were large and she was given a 6-12 month prognosis as her weight dropped to under 100 pounds. She went through radiation treatment and a first round of chemo (January - April of 2015). The tumors were shrinking in her back, but no reduction in her lungs and it had spread to her liver. Her doctor pushed for this newly approved "wonder drug" and my mom had 8 chemo treatments with Nivolumab/Opdivo from May - August. Our family could see improvement through her words and actions as the summer progressed. Two weeks ago she had a PET Scan and the doctor shared the results yesterday, there is no sign of cancer in her lungs, back or liver. She does have a small mark under her arm that she need get a biopsy for next week, but the results to date are nothing short of miraculous. She is still not out of the clear, but just wanted to give you all a factual account of the potential of this drug for certain people.