Pharma Expects Push-Back on Cancer Drug Costs

After Steven Miller, CMO at Express Scripts, announced last week that his company would like to influence the oncology market, Pharma seems to have paid heed.

Payers are likely to put pressure on drugmakers to lower the cost of cancer medicines, particularly when alternative treatments are available, the head of Novartis' pharma division said on Tuesday.

"I think there will be increased pressure on oncology prices," David Epstein, head of Novartis' pharmaceutical division told an analyst call after the company reported fourth-quarter results.

The high price of new immuno-oncology drugs which are expected to be used in combination with other medicines would make it necessary to impose a limit on costs, he said.

"I fully expect whenever a payer has good therapeutic equivalents to be able to put pressure on," he said.