Media irresponsibility

KEY TAKEAWAY: There is nothing worse than promising very sick or dying patients with false hope of a “miracle cure”. Yet, Forbes and other media outlets, like The Hill, have spread the story about a small team of Israeli scientists who are telling the world they will have the first “complete cure” for cancer within a year. And not only that, but they claim it will be brief, cheap and effective and will have no or minimal side-effects. This company is another Theranos?

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The global market for oncology drugs reached $91 billion in 2013


IMS OncologyPOST SUMMARY: According to IMS Health Informatics: The global market for oncology drugs, including supportive care, reached $91 billion in 2013, as measured at ex-manufacturer prices and not reflecting off-invoice discounts and rebates. Although this is up from $71 billion in 2008, it represents a compound annual growth rate of 5.4%. The modest rate reflects a lack of breakthrough therapies for very large patient populations, patent expiries, reductions in the use of supportive care medicines and stronger payer management . This rate of growth is significantly lower than seen during the 2003-2008 period when growth each year exceeded 15%, driven by a small number of breakthrough therapies. Differences in incidence rates, access to medicines and treatment protocols are substantial between countries, but cancer is still a leading area of healthcare spend. In pharmerging markets, oncology is expected to be the fourth highest spend therapy class by 2017. While the U.S. and top five European markets have declined in their share of the global market, they still dominate it with 65% of total sales. Targeted therapies have dramatically increased their share of the oncology market, now accounting for 46% of total sales, up from 11% a decade ago.

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Oncology drugs: Proving value ?

eyepharmaA good report from Eye for Pharma on oncology drugs.   While nearly every division of the industry has come under fire because of high healthcare costs, one therapeutic area that has continued to win premium reimbursement is oncology. Historically, cancer drugs have enjoyed premium pricing and widespread off-label usage because of their designation for patients with generally incurable diseases. Furthermore, new drugs have been rapidly adopted despite weak clinical evidence and overall questionable value. Thus, it is not surprising that spending on these drugs in the U.S. has risen at twice the rate of total drug spending in recent years.  Is this about to change? Continue reading