The Clinical and Reimbursement Landscape of Immuno-Oncology - Episode 11

Anti-PD-1 Treatment Selection

During this segment, Richard W. Joseph, MD, describes the effectiveness of the anti-PD-1 agents pembrolizumab and nivolumab, and discusses similarities and differences between the 2 drugs.

Dr Joseph explains that although no head-to-head trials have directly compared the 2 agents, cross-trial comparisons have demonstrated that they are similar in terms of safety and efficacy. For this reason, he questions why the FDA approved pembrolizumab after just a phase 1 study but required a phase 3 study prior to approving nivolumab.

One difference between the 2 drugs, he notes, is that while nivolumab is administered every 2 weeks, pembrolizumab is given every 3 weeks.

Dr Joseph suggests that unless proved otherwise, the agents should be considered equivalent by managed care organizations and payer coverage should be the same for both drugs.