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Japan eyes rules on use of pricey new drugs

Opdivo, a new oncology drug, costs 35 million yen a year per patient.

TOKYO -- The Japanese health ministry will issue guidelines to promote appropriate administration of groundbreaking but expensive treatments, starting with the Opdivo cancer drug, aiming to rein in rising health care costs.

Revolutionary new treatments can cost hundreds of dollars or more per dose, with some earning pharmaceutical companies billions of dollars a year. When such treatments are used, government health insurance funded by taxes and premiums eases the blow to the patient's wallet.

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