The nation’s monthslong shortage of highly potent cancer drugs is grinding on, forcing patients and their doctors to face even grimmer realities than that cancer typically presents. Several factors have contributed to the shortage of cancer drugs, and patients are hurting. What’s going on? At the heart of the problem is that US pharma companies have zero interest in manufacturing off-patent cancer drugs. They have sold the rights to foreign companies whose quality control is a huge issue. Here are the other issues.
A “cancer moonshot” refers to an ambitious effort to accelerate progress in cancer research and treatment, drawing inspiration from the determination and focus that drove the United States moon landing in 1969. While eradicating cancer may be a monumental task, significant advancements have been made in understanding and treating various types of cancer.
Imbruvica, a cancer medication, carries a wholesale price of about $16,000 a month. Patients on Medicare who don’t qualify for low-income subsidies could see out-of-pocket costs for the drug of over $12,000. Isn’t it time for Congress to finally pass legislation that helps patients?
KEY TAKEAWAY: Few cancer drugs approved via the accelerated FDA approval pathway were judged to have verified benefits based on improvement in survival reported in confirmatory trials.