Immunotherapy Cancer Drugs Are Breakthrough, But Cost Is An Issue

An exciting class of new cancer drugs may boost patients' odds for survival, but healthcare providers and insurers will be under pressure to find savings elsewhere to pay for the high price tags of the new treatments.

Doctors at this week's annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology heard groundbreaking data on a new class of immune system boosters that some believe will become the main treatment for more than half of all cancers in the next 10 years. They included drugs from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck & Co that shrank tumors in patients with advanced melanoma and lung cancer.

Citigroup analysts expect such "immunotherapies" to cost around $110,000 in the United States for a year's worth of treatment and $80,000 in the rest of the world, generating sales of $35 billion a year in the next 10 years. That would represent a hefty proportion of total oncology drug sales, which research firm IMS Health has forecast reaching $88 billion by 2016.

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Source: MedCity News