The Race for the money

Pink Products

The Business of Breast Cancer

Just look at the market: one in eight American women will get it — based on current US populations, that works out to 19,337,500 potential customers. 192,370 new customers just this year who will spend the Medicare average of $31,735, or more, to treat it.

The CDC says $7 billion was spent on treatment of diagnosed breast cancer in 2007, but that number doesn’t come close to the total amounts spent on living with it or fearing you’ll get it. Eight in eight American women (154.7 million) are aware that they could be the one in eight.

Breast cancer is a multi-billion dollar business. For every positive test, someone profits. Those companies want you to survive for as long as you possibly can pay — for every death, those who profit suffer, too. Callous as that sounds, it is true.

Here are some figures to give you an idea of the scale of the efforts towards early detection and a cure:

Research Spending:

Then there are those who wish to influence your government to either find a cure, help those who suffer or pad their profits (please note: large lobby groups do not break out their spending by initiative, specific cancer, etc., but their influence is clear):

2008 Lobby Spending:

  • National Breast Cancer Coalition: $174,619
  • Medical Equipment & Supplies: $6.3 million
  • Big Pharma: $29.2 million (not breast cancer specific)
  • Insurance: $46.8 million (all companies)
  • Health Professionals: $95.2 million

In addition to hospitals, imaging centers, physicians, surgeons, radiologists, rehab centers, hotels near treatment centers, airlines, ambulances, family counselors, book publishers, vitamin firms, alternative treatment practitioners, wig, hat and pink paraphernalia stores, here are some lists of just some of those who are sucking on the money tit.

Drugs: $36.7 billion
This is a list of annual sales of drugs used to treat breast cancer. It is just a partial list and many of these drugs are also used for other diseases. It also doesn’t begin to list the drugs and the profits required to live with the pain, suffering and side effects.

  • Femara (Letrozole): $1.1 billion (Source: 2008 Novartis Annual Report)
  • Aromasin (Exemestane): $465 million (Source: 2008 Pfizer Annual Review)
  • Arimidex (Anastrozole): $1.9 billion (Source: 2008 AstraZeneca Annual Report)
  • Tamoxifen (generic): $1.1 billion, estimate (Source: 2008 AstraZeneca Annual Report)
  • Fareston (Toremifene): $2.9 million (still in testing: Source GTx, Inc. news release)
  • Evista (Raloxifene): $1.1 billion (2007 – Source: Eli Lilly press release)
  • Herceptin (Trastuzumab): $1.4 billion (Source: Genetech web site) –  note: annual treatment expense: >$100,000
  • Lapatinib (Tykerb): $162 million (recently approved: Source: 2008 GlaxoSmithKline Annual Report)
  • Ixempra (azaepothilone B): $500 million, estimated (Source: FiercePharma.com/Bristol-Myers Squibb)
  • Xeloda (Capecitabine): $1.2 billion (Source: 2008 Roche Annual Report)
  • Aredia: $21 million (Source: Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network/Barr Pharma)
  • Pamidronate (generic): $553 million, estimate (Source: AccessMyLibrary.com)
  • Paclitaxel: $1.6 billion (Source: Bristol-Myers Squibb10-K filing)
  • Adriamycin (Doxorubicin): $550 million (Source: EvalutatePharma.com)
  • Pamidronate (Darbepoetin alfa): $550 million (now generic. Source: AccessMyLibrary.com)
  • Aranesp (Darbepoetin alfa): $4.1 billion (Source: 2006 Amgen Annual Report)
  • Epogen: $2.5 billion (Source: 2006 Amgen Annual Report)
  • Procrit/Eprex: $3.3 billion (Source: EvalutatePharma.com/Johnson & Johnson)
  • Aredia (generic/Pamidronic acid): $21 million (Source: Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network/Barr Pharma)
  • Epirubicin (generic): $68 million (Source: Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network/Teva)
  • Faslodex (Fulvestrant): $250 million  (Source: 2008 AstraZeneca Annual Report)
  • Lupron, Eligard (Leuprolide): $1.8 billion (Source: Mongabay.com/Abbott)
  • Gemzar (Gemcitabine): $1.3 billion (2005 – Source: Eli Lilly press release)
  • Neulasta (Pegfilgrastim): $3 billion (Source: EvalutatePharma.com/Amgen)
  • Neupogen (Filgrastim): $300 million (Source: AccessMyLibrary.com)
  • Docetaxel (Taxotere): $2 billion (Source: MedicalNewsToday.com/Sanofi-Aventis)
  • Vinorelbine (generic/Navelbine): $26 million (Source: EvalutatePharma.com)
  • Zoladex (Goserelin Acetate): $1.1 billion (Source: EvalutatePharma.com/AstraZeneca)
  • Zometa, Zomera, Aclasta and Reclast (Zoledronate): $1.2 billion (Source: EvalutatePharma.com/Novartis)

Mammography Equipment: $610 million (US only). Source: Global Industry Analysts, Inc.
Price range: $58,000-$76,000 each. Doesn’t include CT’s, ultrasounds, new digital breast imaging equipment, or mobile devices.

Breast Implants (not just breast cancer):

  • Allergan: $310 million (source: 2008 Annual Report)
  • Mentor Corporation (Johnson & Johnson): $328.4 million (source: Bloomberg)

Miscellaneous:

  • Breast Cancer Postage Stamps: $34.5 million (since 1998)

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