Analysts and doctors hailed the arrival of Merck's Keytruda, the first cancer drug in the U.S. to block the PD-1 pathway--a powerful new way to mobilize patients' immune systems to fight their disease. Then came this news: Merck said Keytruda (pembrolizumab) would cost $12,500 per patient per month, or $150,000 per year.
In cancer drug development, immunotherapies are hot, with none more closely watched than Bristol-Myers Squibb's nivolumab. Now, we have a window into the drug's future. What that glimpse tells us is that outsize cancer drug prices are about to rise even higher.
Political shilly-shallying about the cost of drugs has to end, the chief of the U.K.'s cost-effectiveness agency says. Government officials and politicians need to be up front with the public about one stark fact: The country's health service just can't afford every drug that can help patients.
Why do cancer drugs cost so much? We all know the stock answer--because companies need to recoup their development costs. Whether we believe it is something else, as Peter Bach of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes writes in Forbes.
Authorities in Europe have added two Roche cancer drugs to their list of stolen meds that wholesalers and healthcare providers should be on the lookout for. That brings the tally to 5 drugs that the European Medicines Agency says should be closely examined for signs of tampering.
Last week, drugmaker Hikma struck a deal to buy some of the sterile injectable assets of a Boehringer Ingelheim unit to expand in that growing part of the industry. Now, U.S.-based Amneal Pharmaceuticals is looking to India for a chance to exploit that niche of the market.
ASCO wants to provide oncologists with a scorecard they can use to determine when the benefits of a drug don't justify its cost. The first hints of how that scorecard is shaping up will be revealed starting today, at the annual ASCO conference in Chicago
Payers have decided that formularies aren't enough, at least for cancer drugs. As the Wall Street Journal reports, insurers are revamping their reimbursement protocols to strip incentives for pricey meds--and introduce new ones for "preferred" treatments.
In the world of cancer drugs, calling a new entry "the next Avastin" or "the next Gleevec" is like picking out the next Brad Pitt or the next Beyoncé. But that's just what the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics is doing in its latest report on the pharma business.
IMS Health has found that a group of cancer treatments launched over the past three years "are following the same trajectory" as blockbusters such as Roche's Avastin, Novartis' Gleevec, Bayer's Nexavar, and Merck Serono's Erbitux--at least so far.