Oncology Stakeholders Summit, Spring 2015 - Episode 12

Impact of Oral Oncolytics

Bruce Feinberg, DO; Brian Kiss, MD; and Ted Okon, MBA, describe changes in healthcare such as the shift in focus toward more patient-centric medicine, consideration of patient-reported outcomes, the implementation of the 340B Drug Pricing Program, and the consolidation of the healthcare industry. The managed care stakeholders also discuss innovation in oncology and their concerns about how the growth in the utilization of oral oncolytics affects community practices.

As a better understanding is gained of the human genome and molecular pathways that play a role in certain types of cancers, explains Dr Feinberg, the development of oral oncolytics that target specific molecular pathways has expanded.

Oral treatment options currently comprise 25 to 35 percent of the drug pipeline, adds Mr Okon. An oral chemotherapy drug is often as expensive as or more expensive than the infusible form. As these new options become integrated into treatment recommendations, providers are beginning to recognize trends that affect patient adherence and outcomes.

Mr Okon remarks that the Community Oncology Alliance has researched patient adherence in relation to the costs of therapy and adds that providers need to ensure that patients fill their prescriptions at the pharmacy following their medical appointments.

In the past, when drugs were infused in a clinical setting by a healthcare professional, Mr Okon explains, providers could be reasonably certain that patients would receive their treatment as prescribed. The use of oral oncolytics complicates the monitoring of adherence within community practices because providers need to ensure that their patients recognize the benefits of taking a drug as prescribed and fill their prescriptions.