To understand estimated treatment cost, TrialSite News reviewed some of the most innovative cancer drugs on the market. Powerful innovations have led to new treatments that extend patient lives. For any one that has had a family member or loved-one battle with cancer, we cherish that we can share another day with them. And we are hopeful that at least cures for some cancers could occur within our lifetime. Developing the powerful treatments that help keep our loved-ones fighting cancer alive for another day is miracle work—but is also incredibly expensive. The R&D costs can run into the billions and when risks and opportunity costs are factored in the commercial sponsor can be in between the legendary rock and hard place—but so are the patients and families. TrialSite News plans on a comprehensive research effort into the pricing question for advanced oncology therapies such as CAR-T.  Research is request driven so the more oncology-centric requests, the higher up in the queue the project goes.

In the meantime, new therapies such as Novartis’ Kymriah (a CAR T-cell therapy) are contributing to patient cancer survival rates—in many cases sending their cancer into remission for years. The price tag for survival in the United States is generally market-based. Price tags are now in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most patients cannot benefit from advanced cancer drugs unless their insurance company (payers) provide coverage. Based on our research (review of literature, news coverage as well as discussions with some payer contacts) payers struggle with the high price tag. The oncology drug economics have shaken-up the insurance approval process. The consequence: in many cases delays and even denials of coverage. Most commercial insurers cover CAR-T cell therapies now. However, they do so on an individual policy basis with single-patient agreements—adding time and complexity for your average patient and their family.

Below we outline prominent new cancer therapies:

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The past couple of years have represented considerable progress with the introduction of new cancer drugs to the market. The ongoing oncology pipeline represents a robust, innovative, and in some cases breakthrough number of options. We expect more approvals for both branded treatments as well as biosimilars. Commercial drug makers are combining state-of-art R&D with evolving precision oncology practice. Biopharmaceutical ventures seek to invest— and control where possible—pathways and targets probing for game-changing products. Undoubtedly, in the aggregate billions of dollars that are invested annually. What is the average R&D cost per oncology platform, pathway or therapy type? We are not sure at this stage, but TrialSite News research will certainly proceed with further research to achieve our goal of pervasive transparency in the world of clinical trials.

Editor

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