Addressing the High Costs of Cancer Drugs
Custom Synthesis, Biological drugs, or biologics, are generally large, complex molecules or mixtures of molecules that are derived from living organisms, such as yeast, bacteria, or plant or animal cells.
Unlike generic drugs, which have the same active ingredients as their corresponding brand-name drugs, a biosimilar drug is not an exact copy of its reference product, in part because biological drugs are derived from living organisms, which are inherently complex.
For patients with cancer, biological products include some immunotherapies and targeted therapies.
“Many of today’s most innovative and necessary treatments for cancer are biological products, and many more are in development,” said Dr. Christl. “But these treatments can be enormously expensive.”
In 2005, biological products made up 39.1% of the $9.5 billion in Medicare drug spending. By 2014, these agents accounted for 62% of the $18.5 billion spent by Medicare on prescription drugs.
In a recent report on the rising costs of cancer drugs, the President’s Cancer Panel concluded that biosimilars may play a role in reducing these expenses.
“We have to address the problem of cancer drug costs, and biosimilars may help us,” agreed Sara A. Hurvitz, M.D., of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, who moderated a panel on biosimilars at the 2018 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting.
The high prices of biological drugs represent one of the main challenges facing community cancer programs, Dr. Hurvitz noted.
She cautioned, however, that the potential impact of biosimilars on health care costs in the United States is still unclear and will depend on many factors, including the prices of biosimilars. Whether patients and clinicians view biosimilars as acceptable alternatives to the corresponding reference products will also play a role, she noted.http://www.haihengpharma.com/addressing-the-high-costs-of-cancer-drugs/News