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Dr Amy Davidoff Highlights the Benefits of Palliative Care, Discusses Biosimilars

Palliative care should enter into the discussion with patients with cancer as early as possible as it can manage symptoms from therapy or it can provide comfort to patients who cannot afford or choose to forgo therapy, said Amy Davidoff, PhD, MS. Plus, she discusses the impact biosimilars may have on therapy costs.


Palliative care should enter into the discussion with patients with cancer as early as possible as it can manage symptoms from therapy or it can provide comfort to patients who cannot afford or choose to forgo therapy, said Amy Davidoff, PhD, MS, senior research scientist in public health at the Yale School of Public Health.

Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

How does palliative care usually enter the conversation for patients with cancer?

For a long time and to some extent even now, palliative care is often equated with end-of-life care, with hospice care. In fact, palliative care is simply symptom management, and when you engage palliative care earlier on in the care process you actually may extend patient lifespan in a meaningful and high-quality way because you are managing their symptoms. You're managing their pain, their anxiety, you're intervening early when they're having side effects of chemotherapy or other treatments.

Palliative care is actually something that should be brought early on in the process; however, for patients who choose to forgo or can't afford an expensive therapy, it also helps them be comfortable and have the highest quality life possible as they're approaching end-of-life.

Will the entrance of biosimils into the US market have any effect on cancer treatment and costs?

The entrance of biosimilars provides some potential competition in the market. It depends on how industry responds in terms of changing prices of the initial therapy, whether that price drops a bit or whether the price of the biosimilar just comes to almost as much as the initial therapy. I think it's really hard to say at this point how it's going to play out. I think if downstream yo uhave multiple biosimilars for one specific therapeutic category, you may in fact begin to see some price movement, which could have the benefit to the patients. But until we see that happen, it's really hard to predict.

 
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