The "eye-popping" cost of cancer drugs

Lesley Stahl tells 60 Minutes Overtime about another devastating side effect of cancer: the bill

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This week on 60 Minutes, Lesley Stahl reports on what she calls, the "eye-popping" cost of cancer drugs.

The story was brought to Stahl's attention when she received an email from a close friend suffering from cancer. In the email, he told her about the astronomical bill he'd just received for his treatment and suggested Stahl do a story "on the back-breaking cost of cancer drugs."

She asked her producer, Rich Bonin, to look into the story.

What Bonin found surprised him: "The first thing I never really thought about was how expensive cancer drugs are. Secondly, I never knew that for many oncologists, when they prescribe cancer drugs, they actually get a commission."

The story is far more complicated than "good doctors" versus "evil drug companies," says Bonin.

He paraphrases one doctor's analogy, comparing it to the complex relationship with a mother-in-law: "We love them, we need them, they do good, but you know, there's this other side to the relationship that also makes it complicated."

As the 60 Minutes team reports, cancer drug prices have the potential to bankrupt a family.

"People don't just take one drug. It accumulates. They take two, or sometimes three. And each drug can cost $100,000," Stahl tells 60 Minutes Overtime. "It's really heartbreaking."

The above video was produced for 60 Minutes Overtime by Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson and Craig Crawford, and it was originally published on October 5, 2014.