Study: Competition did not prevent rise in cancer drug prices after launch

The price of U.S. cancer drugs after they hit the market was not affected by new competition, new supplemental FDA approvals or new off-label indications, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

For the study, researchers examined changes in mean monthly costs for 24 FDA-approved injectable cancer drugs. Researchers said they used the average sales prices published by the CMS to account for discounts and rebates and adjusted to U.S. general and health-related inflation rates. They determined the cumulative and annual drug price changes and subsequently analyzed how market structure affects price changes over time.

The study found after an eight-year follow-up period, the mean percent change in price for all drugs was 25 percent, or 18 percent after adjusting for inflation.

Specifically, inflation-adjusted monthly prices for leukemia drugs Rituximab and trastuzumab increased by 49 percent and 44 percent, respectively, according to the study. In a news release, researchers note ziv-aflibercept/Zaltrap for metastatic colorectal cancer was the only drug price that fell over time.

"Anticancer drug costs may change substantially after launch. Regardless of competition or supplemental indications, there is a steady increase in costs of patented anticancer agents over time," researchers concluded. "New regulations may be needed to prevent additional increases in drug costs after launch."


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