Ohio couple pays $22K per month for cancer treatment

BOARDMAN, Ohio  (WKBN) – Fighting cancer is tough physically, rough mentally and very costly.

Doretta Hegg, of Boardman, has found that out. Her husband has cancer and she cannot believe how much chemotherapy treatments cost.

“If you annualize it, it’s $264,000. That’s $22,000 a month,” Hegg said.

Many of the changes Doretta would like to see happen need to be done at the federal level, such as allowing cancer drugs to be imported and establishing a more logical pricing system in America.

“The cancer medications in other countries are 40 to 80 percent cheaper. That’s a big problem,” Hegg said.

Hegg shared her situation Thursday with State Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman. Schiavoni told her the state has passed a bill requiring IV chemotherapy drugs and pills to be treated the same.

“There is cost parity there, so one isn’t here and one isn’t there. That is a step in the right direction,” Schiavoni said.

Hegg has already contacted this area’s U.S. representatives. Next, she will get in contact with Ohio’s senators in the hopes that she will find more help for everyone who’s finding out cancer drug costs are out of control.

“There are a number of things we can do to make the biggest program work better for drugs and that’s Part D under Medicare, and that’s providing more transparency and more competition,” said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said that bill before Congress now impacts Medicare but will have an effect on all drug costs.

“If we can pass this bill where Medicare will negotiate directly with the drug companies for a reasonable price on a whole list of drugs, I think we will see the prices come down on drugs for people of working age, too,” Brown said.

Under the Affordable Health Care Act and Medicare Modernization Act, the government has no power to negotiate prescription drug prices.

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