UPDATE: Influential cancer group releases first batch of affordability info on cancer meds

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network unveiled its first set of "evidence blocks" that include cost information on oncology drugs; this first round focuses on chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and multiple myeloma. The NCCN report pegs a three-drug combo of Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Velcade, Celgene's ($CELG) Revlimid and the generic dexamethasone as the most effective for multiple myeloma, as well as the most expensive. Ratings for three first-line CML regimens--Bristol-Myers Squibb's ($BMY) Sprycel, and Novartis' ($NVS) Gleevec and Tasigna--were all scored as highly effective and very expensive. "This gives people permission to talk about cost and affordability," NCCN chief Dr. Robert Carlson said on a conference call (as quoted by Reuters). "The patient is often embarrassed to bring up cost, and physicians hesitate to bring it up, … but that can result in a prescription not being filled because a patient can't pay for it." Release | Report