Is the current model of cancer drug development sustainable?

Source: NIH

Sally Church on Pharma Strategy Blog has published a thought-provoking piece that discusses why targeted and focused new therapies will lead to higher rather than lower costs of drug development.

Cost drivers include the need to develop biomarkers, undertake more translational medicine and the potential use of combination therapies.

Sally highlights the cost of recently approved drugs such as Yervoy, Adcetris and Zelboraf as examples of how costs are increasing, not decreasing.

Contrary to the opinion of Harpal Kumar, CEO of Cancer Research UK, Sally believes that:

“specialized treatment based on the underlying biology will ultimately cost more, not less, in the long run in terms of research and development, diagnostics/biomarkers and treatment costs of every smaller subsets.”

Is this sustainable in the long-run? Industry, government and payors have yet to tackle this issue.  It’s a problem that is not going away.

You should read Sally’s thought provoking op-ed on “the spiraling costs of cancer research and treatment” on Pharma Strategy Blog.

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