The costs of several common oral medications for cancer have increased since 2000. The prices may keep rising in the coming years, says a new study.
The study suggests that the orally administered cancer drugs are skyrocketing in price at an alarming rate even after appropriate adjustments for inflation. The newer and more effective drugs are entering the market at much higher price than existing drugs.
‘New orally administered cancer drugs have become more expensive after their initial year on the market than other drugs launched 15 years ago.’
Cancer patients often prefer oral drugs for the treatment of cancer due to lesser side effects than standard chemotherapy.
A total of 32 new orally administered cancer drugs have been introduced from the year 2000 to 2014.
The research team made a comparison between new cancer drugs introduced between 2000 and 2010, and those that were introduced after 2010, to identify the constantly changing costs.
In the year 2000, the average launch price of a new oral cancer treatment came in at around $1,869 per month. From 2014, the cancer drugs cost spiked to an $11,325 a month.
A drug called imatinib or Gleevec cost $3,346 when it was launched in 2001. The price has suddenly skyrocketed to $8,479 in 2014 marking a 7.5 percent average annual increase.
The mean monthly expense increased by an average of 63% during a product's first year on the market, when comparing products launched in 2000 to those launched in 2010.
The study's lead author Stacie Dusetzina expressed deep concern for those who are gradually being pushed into a position where they simply cannot afford the therapies they desperately need.
"Patients are increasingly taking on the burden of paying for these high-cost specialty drugs as plans move toward use of higher deductibles and co-insurance — where a patient will pay a percentage of the drug cost rather than flat copay," said Dusetzina.
"The major trend here is that these products are just getting more expensive over time."