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Sutent:Expensive drug that does not cure

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Published on Apr 18, 2013

KC was told by the oncologist that since both his kidneys are infected with cancer, surgery is not indicated. The cancer has also spread to his lungs and liver. The oncologist prescribed Sutent. The total cost of his first visit to the oncologist was RM 7,000. Sutent itself cost RM 5,000 for 9 days consumption. The remaining RM 2,000 was for the CT and RM 300 for consulting the oncologist.

KC came to seek our help on 5 April 2013. The following are excerpts of our conversation.

Chris: Did they remove your kidneys?
KC: No, both my kidneys were infected. They could not remove them.
C: Then you saw the oncologist, what did he do?
KC: He prescribed me this drug (showing Sutent box).
C: How much did this cost you?
KC: RM 5,000 for 9 days of consumption.
C: Did you ask if the drug is going to cure you?
KC: Only to control the spread of the cancer.
C: How long do you need to take this drug?
KC: He cannot tell me. I told the doctor. This drug is expensive, I cannot afford it. He said: How much is your life worth? And when I talked too much he got angry at me. I told him I cannot afford to take this medication. I only earn RM 1,000 plus per month -- how to afford it.
C: Did he tell you the adverse side effects of his drug?
KC: ?? No, I told him I cannot afford to take the medication. He asked me: How much is your life worth? And why do you come and see me then?

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