Currently Viewing:
Evidence-Based Oncology February 2016

Evolving Practices in Managing Costly Immunotherapy

Carina Verdier Dolan, PharmD, BCOP
To address the nationwide concern of costly immunotherapy agents, this article features health system inpatient and outpatient strategies that can help mitigate their costs.

Cancer immunotherapy has the potential to produce lifesaving treatments for patients, but at a great expense. Managing the high cost of cancer therapy requires a dedicated multidisciplinary team of physicians, pharmacists, social workers, and finance to learn, organize, and execute strategies for a successful program. The programs suggested above are pertinent, not only to costly oncology therapies, but also to other disease states that require expensive treatments. Such programs must be present and highly functional in order to address the staggering cost of today’s medications and to prepare for the clinical future of I-O with combination therapy. To continue to provide patients with contemporary treatment options, healthcare providers must remain at the leading edge of cost-containment approaches.

The content for this article was provided by panelists participating in a roundtable discussion of strategies to manage the cost of I-O therapy held as part of Vizient’s Oncology Pharmacy Summit on November 4, 2015. Participating in the discussion were, Osama Abdelghany, PharmD, Yale-New Haven Hospital; Joseph Bubalo, PharmD, Oregon Health & Science University; Steve Fijalka, PharmD, University of Washington Medical Center/ Seattle Cancer Care Alliance; Scott Silverstein, MS, RPh, Huntsman Cancer Center Institute at the University of Utah; Bruce Vinson, PharmD, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; and Robert Wolf, PharmD, RPh, Mayo Clinic. EBO

Carina Verdier Dolan, PharmD, BCOP, is senior clinical manager, Vizient, Inc.
Address for correspondence
Carina Verdier Dolan, PharmD, BCOP
Vizient, Inc.
290 E. John Carpenter Fwy.
Irving, TX 75062
  1. FDA approves Keytruda for advanced melanoma [press release].  Silver Spring, MD: FDA; September 4, 2014.
  2. FDA approves Keytruda for advanced non-small cell lung cancer [press release]. Silver Spring, MD: FDA; October 2, 2015.
  3. Pembrolizumab label updated with new clinical trial information. FDA website. Published December 2015. Accessed December 30, 2015.
  4. FDA approves Opdivo for advanced melanoma [press release]. Silver Spring, MD: FDA; December 22, 2014.
  5. FDA expands approved use of Opdivo in advanced lung cancer [press release]. Silver Spring, MD: FDA; October 9, 2015.
  6. Nivolumab in combination with ipilimumab. FDA website. Published October 2015. Accessed December 19, 2015.
  7. FDA approves Opdivo to treat advanced form of kidney cancer [press release]. Silver Spring, MD: FDA; November 23, 2015.
  8. Rudner AD, Smith DL, Madsen MT, Kass FH 3rd. Is there a benefit to having a clinical oncology pharmacist on staff at a community oncology clinic? J Oncol Pharm Pract. 2011;17(4):425-432. doi: 10.1177/1078155210389216.
  9. The role of hematology/oncology pharmacists. The Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA) website. Published August 2014. Accessed January 7, 2016.
Copyright AJMC 2006-2020 Clinical Care Targeted Communications Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Welcome the the new and improved, the premier managed market network. Tell us about yourself so that we can serve you better.
Sign Up