Aug 3, 2022

Private Sector and Non-Profit Partners Introduce Cancer Treatment That Can Save Patients Thousands of Dollars Per Month

In case you missed it, CivicaScript, a collaboration between non-profit drug manufacturer Civica Rx, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) and 18 Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies, has manufactured and brought to market its first generic drug as part of the partnership’s mission to offer more affordable alternatives to high price Big Pharma medications.

Abiraterone, used to treat prostate cancer, has the potential to save patients thousands of dollars per month. According to Axios, Abiraterone’s $160 per-bottle price tag is about $3,000 less than the average price for Medicare Part D patients.

“We’re proud the first lower-cost generic drug of our partnership with CivicaScript is entering the market,” Kim Keck, president and CEO of BCBSA, said in a press release Wednesday. “This is an important milestone in our shared commitment to help make prescription drugs more affordable for millions of Americans. No one should have to face breaking the bank from buying a life-saving medication.”

“We hope that our transparent approach, flowing all the way through to the consumer, will translate into there being less opaqueness and fewer people being hurt by pricing on generics,” CivicaScript President Gina Guinasso added.

CivicaScript’s work to bring more affordable alternatives to the market can help provide much-needed relief for patients from Big Pharma’s anti-competitive and price-gouging practices, especially on medications used to treat cancer. Brand name drug companies egregious pricing practices on oncology drugs have created a crisis of affordability — and placed breakthrough treatments out-of-reach for too many American patients. Get the facts here:

  • Nearly Two-Thirds Of Cancer Patients Experience Financial Hardship: “Price tags of life-saving treatments are continuing to increase, with nearly $150 billion being spent nationally per year for cancer care, four times more than treatment for other common health conditions, according to a report from The Mesothelioma Center. Sixty-three percent of cancer patients faced financial struggles following a cancer diagnosis. Cancer treatment costs were reported highest among preventable cancers such as lung cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and mesothelioma. Specifically, the lifetime cost of lung cancer was an estimated $282,000 while mesothelioma was a reported $150,000.” (“Cost of Cancer Care Reaches Nearly $150B Nationally,” Healthpayer Intelligence, January 15, 2020, Samantha McGrail)
  • Prices on 54 Cancer Drugs Increased 40 Percent Over Eight Years: “The affordability problem is worsened by soaring list prices for many specialty drugs used to treat cancer and other serious diseases… For instance, prices for 54 orally administered cancer drugs shot up 40 percent from 2010 to 2018, averaging $167,904 for one year of treatment, according to a 2019 JAMA study. Bristol Myers Squibb, the manufacturer of Clark’s drug, Pomalyst, has raised the price 75 percent since it was approved in 2013, to about $237,000 a year.” (“Seniors Face Crushing Drug Costs as Congress Stalls on Capping Medicare Out-Of-Pockets,” Kaiser Health News, January 4, 2021, Harris Meyer)
  • Cancer Drug Price Hikes Outpace Inflation: “The cost of oral cancer drugs increased by almost six percent over inflation from 2010 to 2018, leading to increases in out-of-pocket costs for Medicare patients despite reductions in the Part D coverage gap, according to an analysis of formulary and pricing data.” (“Costs of Oral Cancer Drugs Rising Faster than Inflation,” MDedge, May 28, 2019, Richard Franki)
  • Cancer Drug Pricing “Not Aligned With the Actual Benefit”: “A new analysis found that costs for dozens of cancer drugs in the U.S. were 2.3 times higher than in four wealthy European nations. And at the same time, there was generally no association between the clinical benefits of the drugs and the monthly treatment costs in most of the countries. In other words, pricing was not aligned with the actual benefit.” (“What Value? Costs For Dozens of Cancer Drugs Aren’t Tied To Better Clinical Benefits,” STAT News, April 30, 2020, Ed Silverman)

Read more on the CivicaScript launch of Abiraterone HERE

Read more on how CivicaScript is working to bring more affordable alternatives to market HERE.

Read more on how the out-of-control prices set by Big Pharma on prescription drugs used to treat cancer have created a crisis of affordability HERE.

Read more on market-based solutions to hold Big Pharma accountable and lower prescription drug prices HERE.