ICER: a Cancer Survivor/Marathon Runner’s Perspective

This post on ICER from a patient’s perspective is by Don Wright.  Don is a lawyer living and working in Minnesota and  has been running marathons since 2002.   In 2003 he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer with no cure.  He went on an experimental treatment that year and is now on the verge of completing his 97th marathon.  Running is a part of fighting back against myeloma, as well as a celebration of life.  He is a leading advocate for cancer patients around the world.   This post argues that a doctor using ICER guidelines to determine treatment access would at the very least violate the Hippocratic Oath.

Who is ICER?

ICER is the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review.  As far as I can tell, it is funded primarily by insurance companies and by nonprofit organizations who, in turn, are funded by insurance companies.  They claim some funding by the federal government as well.  Other members include pharmaceutical companies who apparently participate in order to have some voice in ICER’s proceedings.  A quick Google search shows that the title of many of ICER’s documents is “Building Trust through Rationing,” which I believe is their mantra and suggests their real purpose.

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