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Cancer drugs "less affordable in low-income countries"

China and India are among those hit hardest by the rapidly escalating price of therapies
Renminbi

Escalating cancer drug prices are putting a significant burden on patients around the world, but those in poorer countries are being hardest hit, according to a new study.

The analysis by Daniel Goldstein of Rabin Medical Center in Israel showed that median prices of a basket of 23 cancer drugs - including 15 generics - were highest in the US, with India and South Africa at the other end of the scale.

However, when the researchers examined the monthly cost of treatment as a percentage of gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity (GDPcapPPP), they appear to be less affordable in low-income countries, despite the lower retail prices.

The median monthly patented drug price ranged from $1,515 in India to nearly $8,700 in the US for patented drugs, according to the analysis, which was presented at the ASCO conference in Chicago yesterday. For generic drugs, the median monthly price was the highest in the US ($654) and lowest in South Africa ($120) and India ($159).

"Both generic and patented drugs appear to be less affordable in low-income countries," according to the researchers.

Cancer drugs appeared to be most affordable in Australia, and least affordable in China and India, they said, although they cautioned that the study did not take into account the health insurance systems in different countries.

"The implications of our findings are limited because we were not able to take discounts and rebates into account, which would better predict drug affordability," commented Goldstein.

Last week, a study by IMS Health predicted that global spending on cancer medicines will reach more than $150bn by 2020 from its 2015 level of $107bn, with the increase expected to "cause tension" between pharma companies and healthcare payers.

Drug pricing was also a flashpoint at last year's ASCO, with a keynote address by Leonard Saltz of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre (MSKCC) saying escalating prices were unsustainable and do not appear to be linked to the value of the drug.

Article by
Phil Taylor

7th June 2016

From: Sales

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