Mar 10, 2014 – Cancer Drug Cost

March 10, 2014

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Health newsfeed for Monday, March 10, 2014

ANCHOR LEAD: WHY IS IT THAT SO MANY CANCER DRUGS ARE SO VERY EXPENSIVE?  ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Cancer care has the potential to bankrupt budgets as more people age into developing the disease.  Now Ronan Kelly, an oncologist at Johns Hopkins, and colleague Thomas Smith, have identified several ways costs could be brought under control.  One of them is by challenging pharmaceutical companies on their rationale for exorbitant drug pricing.

KELLY: What we’re saying is okay, not every single drug can cost the same to bring from an idea, but then what we hear is for every one drug that gets approved there’s a hundred drugs that don’t so we need to recoup our R and D expense that way, which seems like a valid argument but we’re also aware that some drugs recently have been approved based on very small numbers of clinical trial data because with these new targeted drugs if you can identify your patients with this certain molecular target then this drug is really quite effective, so the FDA has approved some drugs based on small studies rather than waiting for big international phase 3 trials.   :33

Kelly and Smith published their recommendations recently in the Lancet.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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