Cancer docs judge drugs' cost-effectiveness

Speaking of drug prices, they influence care in the U.S., too. A survey of 1,379 oncologists showed that rising drug costs are changing the way doctors treat cancer--even when those physicians don't talk to patients about the cost of their treatment.

Some 84 percent of cancer docs told researchers that they considered patients' out-of-pocket costs when determining which treatments to recommend, Pharmalot reports. And 56 percent either strongly agreed or agreed somewhat that costs do influence their treatment decisions. But--get this--only 43 percent say they frequently discuss these costs with their patients.

And the trend is accelerating, too. Almost three-fourths of the surveyed oncologists agreed that the cost of new cancer drugs will play a more significant role in their decisions about which drugs to recommend for their patients. More than half thought patients should have access to effective cancer treatments only if those treatments are a "good value," or less than $100,000 per life-year gained.

Sounds to us like a majority of oncologists are making NICE-like treatment decisions on their own. And that may be why so many of them favor more data on cost and effectiveness. Around 80 percent favor more comparative-effectiveness research and more data on cost-effectiveness. They still want to make the decisions themselves, however; they'd just like more info to make them with.

- read the Pharmalot piece
- get a link to the journal article in Health Affairs

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