Immunotherapy - Episode 11

Epsiode 11 - The Impact of Combination Therapies on Resource Allocations

Because combination therapy options are typically used to treat cancer, managed care professionals explore the high costs of newer treatment options for the treatment of cancer and raise questions about how the costs of drugs are determined. The discussion leads into a debate about whether high costs of combination therapies will underestimate their benefits and deter patients from receiving such necessary therapy.

Daniel J. George, MD, explains that different combination regimens have different dosage requirements. Combinations with ipilimumab require a different dosage regimen than immunotherapy, which impacts decisions on how to allocate financial resources.

Dr George continues by explaining that when looking at the cost-benefit ratio for a combination therapy, the cost should be determined based on the life span of the patient and should include all subsequent therapies.

Jeffrey Weber, MD, PhD, questions whether combination therapies currently in developmental stages, such as PD1 and Ipi, will be affordable to patients due to their high costs.

Because there is no clear answer to whether or not a patient will be able to afford a therapy option, Michael Kolodziej, MD, concludes that oncologists will need to base treatment decisions on the overall value of a treatment’s benefits. If a patient will be treated with a combination therapy, the treatment should be used in a setting where the patient has the potential for long-term survival.