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Pharmaco-Epi Community Responds to New Study re: Cost of Cancer Drugs

Posted in News on 9.15.2017

Pin pointing the dollar amount that it actually costs to bring a drug to market is a tricky business. Until recently, the most widely accepted estimate has come from Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, at $2.7 billion per drug. 

Yet a new study published in JAMA places that number much lower, a median cost of $757million per drug. The JAMA study evaluated 10 cancer drugs, which are among the most expensive drugs, making their findings even more surprising. 

The paper was received with both praise and criticism. Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a faculty member of Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics (DoPE) described the study as “thoughtful and rigorous”. 

Representatives of the biotech industry, however, took issue with the way calculations were made—specifically, that they did not take into account the cost of many drugs that never make it to market. 

Dr. Jerry Avorn, Alosa Health founder and Director at DoPE, commented that study is sure feed the ongoing debate over cancer drug prices, elaborating, “We are getting into areas that are almost unimaginable economically.” Read the full article here.