In Practice

Cost considerations in determining the affordability of adjuvant trastuzumab in breast cancer

R P Abratt


The drug cost of adjuvant trastuzumab to benefit one patient with localised human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer depends on the baseline survival rate (BLSR) of the prognostic group of the patient. This varies from ZAR13 752 900 (BLSR 90%) to ZAR4 006 100 (BLSR 60%). All treated patients are exposed to potential toxicity. The value and affordability of treatments need to be considered, as there are finite resources available in our healthcare system. All patients must have access to cost-effective treatments. However, patient selection for expensive treatments is important, as expenditure on patients where the gains are relatively small will result in resources not being available for other patients. The state, healthcare institutions and the pharmaceutical industry need to work together to optimise the benefits of treatment to patients.

Author's affiliations

R P Abratt, Head of Clinical Governance, Independent Clinical Oncology Network, South Africa; Emeritus Professor of Radiation Oncology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Cost; Affordability; Trastuzumab; Breast cancer

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2016;106(10):981-982. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i10.11141

Article History

Date submitted: 2016-06-07
Date published: 2016-09-23

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