Dr. Yezefski on Differences in CRC Care Costs Between the US and Canada

Todd A. Yezefski, MD

Todd A. Yezefski, MD, senior fellow, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington, discusses the differences between colorectal cancer (CRC) care costs in the Unites States and Canada.

In an analysis of patients with metastatic CRC in western Washington and British Columbia, Canada, investigators aimed to compare chemotherapy use, cost, and survival between patients in geographically similar locations, but in 2 different health systems. The US has a multi-payer health system, while Canada has a single-payer health system. The systemic therapy use, cost, and survival for patients with metastatic CRC were gathered using cancer registry and claims data.

Yezefski says that even though outcomes, measured by overall survival, were similar in both locations, the cost of first-line chemotherapy in Washington was significantly higher than British Columbia. Per patient, per month, the cost for first-line chemotherapy in Washington was just over $12,000 dollars, while the cost was just over $6,000 dollars in British Columbia. Yezefski attributes this partly to the ability for the Canadian government to set the price of drugs.
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