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Specialty Drugs in Breast Cancer: Health Care Utilization and Costs in the First Year after Diagnosis

This AARP Public Policy Institute analysis of insurance claims data shows that breast cancer patients taking specialty drugs often incur substantial medical costs in addition to the costs specifically associated with the specialty drugs themselves.

Breast cancer patients ages 50 and older who used specialty drugs to treat their condition faced $120,000 in health care costs, on average, in the first year after diagnosis. Roughly 90 percent of these costs were driven by utilization of both inpatient and outpatient services, rather than the specialty drugs themselves.