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Independent Survey of US Oncologists by National Analysts Worldwide Finds Drug Shortages and Escalating Costs Result in Grave Health Consequences

Nearly half of surveyed oncologists saw tumors recur and patients die sooner due to drug shortages; 73 percent substituted sub-optimal care due to patient inability to afford drug co-payments


PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb 1, 2012 - A recently completed survey of U.S. oncologists reveals an oncology landscape that is growing increasingly bleak due to a shortage of cancer drugs and financial constraints that are having grave health consequences on the patients they treat.

The survey, conducted independently by National Analysts Worldwide without pharmaceutical company support or collaboration, produced an array of disturbing conclusions. The findings pose serious questions about our nation's ability to advance the “War on Cancer,” despite promising strides in our understanding of basic cancer biology.

Ironically, the survey found that while there is excitement among U.S. oncologists about innovative therapies under development, nearly half report grave health consequences due to drug shortages. The survey also found that oncologists' optimism about the potential for new treatments to improve survival and quality of life is offset by pessimism that these new treatments will be affordable for patients or society.

“There has been much concern about drug shortages but these findings confirm some of our worst fears,” says Susan Schwartz McDonald, President and CEO of National Analysts Worldwide and a lead researcher on the survey. “At a time when important advances promise new hope in many forms of cancer, chronic drug shortages and reduced access to care threaten to undermine our ability to combat disease.”

Highlights of the survey, which polled 204 U.S. oncologists, fall into three broad categories: the impact of drug shortages; the escalating costs of new therapies; and physicians' outlook on the future given the trends they are experiencing today.

Seventy-one percent of oncologists see a professional future that is less personally and professionally satisfying and 65 percent predict that a shortage of oncologists will materialize in the coming decades. “Oncologists foresee fewer physicians, more drug shortages, and an increasing inability to pay for care. These trends will be converging at a time when we already know there will be more older patients—and more cancer patients—than ever before,” says Debra A. Kossman, Senior Vice President of National Analysts Worldwide and co-investigator on the study.

Drug Shortages Have Hastened Cancer Deaths


  • Nearly half of U.S. oncologists saw grave health consequences due to drug shortages: 48 percent report seeing tumor recurrence and 40 percent have seen patients die sooner.
  • In the past year, nearly all U.S. oncologists (95 percent) have had patients in their practice who were unable to receive timely treatment due to drug shortages, and over 85 percent have had patients who were unable to receive the best treatment altogether.
  • This trend is projected to continue in the coming year: half of oncologists (50 percent) expect to see hastened cancer deaths occurring more often, whereas few (14 percent) anticipate a reversal of the trend.

Drug Costs Are Resulting in Suboptimal Care for Some Patients


  • Nearly eight in 10 U.S. oncologists (79 percent) have treated patients with what they believe is suboptimal therapy due to lack of health insurance.
  • Almost as many (73 percent) have treated insured patients with something short of the most effective therapy due to patient inability to afford drug co-payments.

Optimism about the State of Science is Offset by Pessimism about Affordability of Access


  • Over 80 percent of oncologists express optimism about new discoveries in the biology of cancer and tailored anti-tumor therapies, as well as the potential for new treatments to improve survival and quality of life.
  • At the same time, 70 percent are pessimistic that new treatments will be affordable for patients or society.

For a detailed analysis of the survey and its conclusions, contact the authors at

About National Analysts Worldwide

National Analysts Worldwide is a leading research-based consultancy that serves both Fortune 100 companies and innovative start-ups by integrating expertise in research methodology with deep sector experience in industries like Healthcare, B2B markets, Information Technology, Media and Communications, and Financial Services. Drawing on a century of industry leadership as the world's oldest business research entity, the firm integrates market research with business consulting to address marketing challenges from opportunity assessment and launch strategy to brand health and lifecycle management.

National Analysts Worldwide is known for expertise in modeling, market segmentation, demand forecasting, and research that drives brand strategy, positioning, pricing, product innovation, and insight on customer experience. For more information, visit

For commentary on a variety of important healthcare issues, read our blog, “A Day in the Life Sciences” at


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Posted: February 2012

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