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Doctors offer solutions on how to best regulate rising prices of cancer treatments

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Fifty years ago, the average monthly cost of a cancer therapy stood at $100 a month ($754.94 in today’s dollars). By 2013, that monthly figure zoomed to a monthly average of $10,000, with some newly approved drugs costing more than $30,000 a month, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

With patients seeing ever-rising treatment prices — as 118 oncologists recently noted in demanding action from Washington — and payers and governments increasingly clamoring to contain costs, two key oncologist groups and a team of doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) offer separate, yet promising, potential answers to the longstanding question: How best to assign value to cancer drugs?

ASCO last month published its initial version of a conceptual Value Framework. The six-step framework assigns up to 80 points for clinical benefit based on overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), or response rate. Toxicity is graded from -20 to +20 points. Up to 30 more points are assigned for data showing palliation of symptoms and/or treatment-free interval. The points — up to a maximum 130 — are calculated into a “net health benefit” (NHB) representing the added benefit that patients can expect from the therapy, versus current standard of care.

“If fully realized, this would represent an individualized approach to cancer care that is consistent with provision of the best available therapy at the lowest achievable cost,” ASCO declared in a statement published June 22 in Journal of Clinical Oncology. “The ultimate purpose of this process is for patients to have transparent information about their treatment options so that they make more fully informed decisions.”

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Measuring the Value of Cancer Drugs

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