Related Stories on Drug Pricing

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Related Stories on Drug Pricing

U.S. Prescription Drug Spending Increased 13 Percent in 2014

New hepatitis C therapies with high price tags and the exploitation of loopholes for compounded medications contributed to a 13.1 percent increase in U.S. drug spending in 2014, a rate not seen in more than a decade, according to the 2014 Express Scripts Drug Trend Report.

Hepatitis C and compounded medications are responsible for more than half of the increase in overall spending. Excluding those two therapy classes, 2014 drug trend (the year-over-year increase in per capita drug spending) was 6.4 percent.

Specialty medications—biologic and other high cost treatments for complex conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and cancer—accounted for more than 31 percent of total drug spending in 2014.

Tufts Researchers Say Blood Cancer Drugs Are a Good Value; Kantarjian Disagrees

Even at high cost, blood cancer drugs provide a good value, an analysis by Tufts Medical Center researchers found.

In a paper published online by the American Society of Hematology journal Blood, the Tufts team presents data from a meta-analysis to argue that, even considering their cost of $100,000 or more a year, targeted therapies, as they translate into years and quality of life gained, may justify the prices.

photoCancer Drug Prices Increased $8,500 Per Year Since 1995

The launch prices of anticancer drugs have increased substantially over time—even when adjusted for inflation and survival benefits—according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The paper, titled “Pricing in the Market for Anticancer Drugs,” was authored by David Howard, an associate professor of health policy and management at Emory University; Peter Bach, a pulmonologist and health systems researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Ernst Berndt, the Louis E. Seley Professor in applied economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management; and Rena Conti, an assistant professor of health policy and economics at the University of Chicago.

Hagop Kantarjian: Why Drugs Cost Too Much and How Prices Can be Brought Down

Oncologists should spearhead efforts to bring down the prices of cancer drugs, said Hagop Kantarjian, chair of the Department of Leukemia at MD Anderson Cancer Center and lead author of a recent paper on drug pricing, published in the journal Blood.

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