POST SUMMARY: According to the Dallas Morning News, five years ago, cancer treatment accounted for just $157 billion of the nation’s annual $2.6 trillion health bill. Propelled by new drugs and an aging population, however, cancer spending is rising quickly. A forecast from the National Cancer Institute said spending could hit $207 billion by the end of the decade.
POST SUMMARY: Biosimilars are possible thanks to the Affordable Care Act and the law’s promise to bring cheaper versions of expensive biotech drugs to the U.S. market. The biosimilar of Neupogen will save the U.S. health system more than $5.5 billion over the next decade, assuming a “conservative discount of 30 percent off the current brand price,” Express Scripts said
POST SUMMARY: CVS, the nation’s biggest health-related company with nearly $140 billion in annual sales , says this new strata of cholesterol drugs, believed to be a cut above previous medications, would severely strain the healthcare system if prescribed to all the 15 million Americans who could benefit from the drugs.
Evidence of recent weeks suggests that the battle of high drug pricing is one that big pharma risks losing, raising questions over the economic model of an industry that relies heavily on US profits to reward investors and finance new drugs. Pharmaceutical executives say their ability to price drugs in the US, according to what the market will bear allows them to cover the considerable cost of finding new, often revolutionary, treatments; the cost of developing and winning approval for a new drug now runs at $2.6bn, according to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, compared with $802m in 2003.
Medical experts estimate that the failure to take prescription medications as directed costs some $300 billion a year in emergency room visits, in patient hospital care and extra visits to physicians offices. If you think it’s all due to drug costs think again. One study found that even in health plans where medications are free, rates of non-adherence were nearly 40%. With the drug industry facing a huge loss of revenue from patent expiration you would figure that drug industry and the government would work to decrease non-adherence rates but they just can’t see the ROI clear enough.
POST SUMMARY: The number of over-65s on the planet is projected almost to triple between 2010 and 2050 to 1.5bn, according to the UN. This, in turn, will spur a surge in age-related diseases such as cancer. The World Health Organization predicts the number of cases will increase 70 per cent in the next 20 years. Global spending on cancer drugs has more than doubled in the past decade to $91bn in 2013, according to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. However, can the US healthcare system really afford $100,000 drugs?
POST SUMMARY: According to an editorial in today’s Times “pharma companies are taking advantage of a mix of laws that force insurers to include essentially all expensive drugs in their policies, and a philosophy that demands that every new health care product be available to everyone, no matter how little it helps or how much it costs.”