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Cancer Drugs' High Prices Not Justified by Cost of Development, Study Contends

Posted 12 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Sept. 12, 2017 – Excusing the sky-high price tags of many new cancer treatments, pharmaceutical companies often blame high research and development (R&D) costs. But a new analysis, focused on 10 new cancer drugs, finds those costs may have been greatly exaggerated – and the return on investment for drug companies is lucrative indeed. The study found that the typical R&D process for a new cancer medication spans about seven years, with an average per-drug cost of between $648 million and $794 million. Pricey, yes – but still far below the $2.7 billion-per-drug R&D figure determined by a 2016 Tufts University investigation. It's that number that drug companies have pointed to as their average R&D cost per drug. And the pay-off, once a new cancer drug reaches the market, can be enormous, the new study found. According to the researchers, after an average of about four years on ... Read more

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Publicly Funded Cancer Trials Gained Americans 3 Million More Years

Posted 6 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, June 6, 2017 – Public-funded trials have significantly extended the lives of people diagnosed with cancer, according to new research. SWOG, the clinical trials network funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI), has involved more than 200,000 patient volunteers. These trials have led to approval of 14 new cancer drugs and more than 100 changes to cancer care standards. All told, the clinical trials studied extended life by 3.34 million years, the study found. SWOG estimates the dollar return on investment from federal funding at $125 for each year of life gained. "A lot of people with cancer have lived longer because of the therapies tested in our publicly funded trials," study leader Joseph Unger said in a SWOG news release. He is an assistant member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's Cancer Prevention Program in Seattle. "At the same time, the cost of ... Read more

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U.S. Pays Highest Prices for Cancer Meds: Study

Posted 6 Jun 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 6, 2016 – The United States pays the highest prices in the world for generic and brand-name cancer drugs, a new study has found. However, as the world's wealthiest nation, the United States is better able to pay for those pricey drugs than poorer countries with somewhat lower medication prices, added study lead author Dr. Daniel Goldstein. People in China and India are much less able to afford cancer drugs than Americans, he said, even though U.S. monthly drug prices are about three to six times higher in the United States. That doesn't mean America came out on top in overall drug affordability, however. Developed nations such as Australia, England and Israel had the "best deal" in the world on cancer drugs, thanks to government programs that regulate drug pricing, the study found. "America is the wealthiest nation, but its drug prices are significantly higher – so much ... Read more

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'Precision' Cancer Treatment May Extend Lives

Posted 20 May 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, May 19, 2016 – "Precision" cancer treatment that's guided by genetic clues from the patient's own tumor appears to outperform traditional chemotherapy, a new research review finds. Patients given precision – or personalized – treatment experienced a tumor shrinkage rate six times that attained by regular chemotherapy. But, that only happened if doctors used genetic information to choose the appropriate targeted therapy, said lead researcher Maria Schwaederle. Those patients also experienced nearly double the length of time before their cancer resumed growing, according to the analysis of nearly 350 clinical trials. "It is not just that the therapies are better, but that targeted therapies must be given to the right patients," said Schwaederle, who's with the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine's Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy. She will present ... Read more

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Onivyde Approved for Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

Posted 27 Oct 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Oct. 23, 2015 – The injected drug Onivyde (irinotecan liposome) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for pancreatic cancer that has either spread or is surgically untreatable. Pancreatic cancer is difficult to treat, the agency said, citing U.S. Government estimates that 48,960 new cases would be diagnosed this year and 40,560 would die from it. The new drug's effectiveness was evaluated in clinical studies involving 417 people with advanced pancreatic cancer. People treated with a combination of Onivyde and the anti-cancer drugs fluorouracil or leucovorin lived an average of 6.1 months, compared to 4.2 months among those treated with fluorouracil or leucovorin alone, the FDA said. Onivyde's most common side effects include diarrhea, fatigue, vomiting, loss of appetite, mouth inflammation and fever. The drug's label also warns that it may cause severe ... Read more

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FDA Approves New Pancreatic Cancer Drug Onivyde

Posted 27 Oct 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Oct. 22, 2015 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug called Onivyde as part of a treatment regimen for advanced pancreatic cancer. Onivyde (irinotecan liposome injection) was approved to be used in combination with fluorouracil and leucovorin. The combination was approved for use in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer who were already treated with gemcitabine-based chemotherapy, the FDA said Thursday in a news release. The approval was based on a study of more than 400 patients. All had experienced cancer growth despite gemcitabine-based chemotherapy. The new research included three treatment arms. Patients were randomly assigned to receive Onivyde with fluorouracil/leucovorin, Onivyde alone, or fluorouracil/leucovorin alone. The researchers found that people treated with Onivyde plus fluorouracil/leucovorin lived an average of 6.1 months, ... Read more

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FDA Approves Onivyde (irinotecan liposome injection) for Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

Posted 27 Oct 2015 by Drugs.com

October 22, 2015 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Onivyde (irinotecan liposome injection), in combination with fluorouracil and leucovorin, to treat patients with advanced (metastatic) pancreatic cancer who have been previously treated with gemcitabine-based chemotherapy. According to the National Cancer Institute, there will be 48,960 new cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed in the U.S. in 2015, and nearly the same number of deaths caused by the disease (40,560). Pancreatic cancer can be difficult to diagnose early and treatment options are limited, especially when the disease has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic disease) and surgery to remove the tumor is not possible. “Many FDA staff who review drug applications are clinicians as well, so it’s especially rewarding when we are able to expedite access to new treatments for patients with unmet nee ... Read more

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