Weekly Update – How much is too much?

Weekly Update – 5/8/2015

We learned this week that worldwide spending on cancer medicines reached $100 billion in 2014, an increase of 10.3 percent from 2013. And let’s not forget about last week’s multiple sclerosis study noting that there has been an “alarming rise” in the cost of these drugs, coming in between $50,000 and $65,000 a year. While drugmakers cannot hide from these numbers, reports continue to leave patients asking the same question: How much is too much?


“How companies set prices of specialty drugs…has been a mystery to the patients who need them.”

The New York Times Editorial Board


$100 Billion

 Global spending on cancer drugs rose 10.3% from 2013 to reach $100B in 2014.


>> .@nytimes: Bills requiring drug companies to justify their prices can bring costs to affordable levelsow.ly/MxAgd 

>> RT @pharmalot: How Much?! Global spending on #cancer medicines hit $100 billion last year, a 10% riseon.wsj.com/1IeRDZp #pharma #Rxcosts #oncology

>> Via@WSJ: Data show costly meds accounted for 26% of total spending but just 1% of claimsow.ly/MnNkp 


National Journal  – Washington’s Interest in Precision Drugs is Innovation, Not Cost

On Tuesday, the Senate Health committee held a hearing on the promise of precision medicine. Last week, the House released draft legislation to support biomedical innovation. And following President Obama’s State of the Union in January, the White House unveiled the Precision Medicine Initiative, meant to provide funding to accelerate biomedical research. What none of these things do directly is to curb the price of specialty drugs—including precision drugs—which cost Americans more than $80 billion in 2013, according to the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing.

The New York Times – Editorial: Runaway Drug Prices

The drug and biotech companies contend that high prices are justified to cover the large costs of bringing a drug to market and to compensate for the large number of drugs that fail in late stages of costly clinical trials. But it appears that many companies raise prices arbitrarily and charge what public and private insurers will pay.

Bloomberg Business – Diabetes Drugs Compete With Prices That Rise in Lockstep

Contrary to the consumer’s ideal in which bare-knuckled rivals cut prices to grab market share, competitors in branded pharmaceuticals often drive each other’s prices higher. This behavior, known as “shadow pricing,” is one reason U.S. drug costs are surging. Prescription spending rose 13 percent last year to $374 billion, according to IMS Health Holdings Inc.

Star Tribune – Specialty drugs: What good is a treatment if it’s out of reach?

A breakthrough is defined as a sudden, dramatic and important discovery or development. It’s hard to dispute that medical breakthroughs have changed the course of life as we know it. But what good are these breakthroughs if the people who need them can’t afford them? Such is the case with prescription drugs and, in particular, specialty pharmacy.

Reuters – Global cancer drug spending hits $100 billion in 2014: IMS Health

Worldwide spending on cancer medicines reached $100 billion in 2014, an increase of 10.3 percent from 2013 and up from $75 billion five years earlier, according to IMS Health’s Global Oncology Trend Report released on Tuesday. The $100 billion, which represents 10.8 percent of all drug spending globally and includes supportive care drugs to address things like nausea and anemia, was driven by expensive newer treatments in developed markets, IMS found.

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