As cancer drug prices climb, value not keeping pace

Anti-cancer medications represent a major share of global drug spending, but patients and insurers may be getting less for their money, according to a new analysis in the <i>Journal of Oncology Practice</i>.

Anti-cancer medications represent a major share of global drug spending, but patients and insurers may be getting less for their money, according to a new analysis in the <i>Journal of Oncology Practice</i>. Researchers led by Kelvin Chan, MD, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, found that the cost of new anti-cancer drugs increased more than five-fold from 2006 to 2015. They analyzed 42 clinical trials of the drugs approved by the FDA in 2006&#8211;15 and found that monthly drug costs increased by 9% per year while incremental costs rose by 21% annually. Chan's team used two scales&#8212;the American Society of Clinical Oncology's (ASCO) Value Framework and the European Society of Medical Oncology's Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale&#8212;to measure clinical benefits of the newly approved drugs. However, neither scale showed any improvement in clinical benefit during the study period, nor were there any associations between the clinical value of a drug and its monthly or incremental cost.