ASCO 2016 Highlight: Why Do Cancer Drug Prices Differ So Much Between Countries?
“There are significant differences in drug prices across different countries, but even more important is that increasing prices are putting a significant burden on patients. More needs to be done to make treatments affordable and accessible for all patients,” said Patricia Ganz, MD, ASCO Expert and moderator of today’s press briefing.
CHICAGO – A pilot study revealed large differences in median retail prices for 23 cancer drugs in seven different countries, with the highest retail prices identified in the United States and the lowest in India and South Africa. Notably, after monthly drug price is expressed as a percentage of domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity (GDPcapPPP), cancer drugs appear to be less affordable in low-income countries, despite the lower retail prices. The study will be featured in a press briefing today and presented at the 2016 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.
“This study provides a glimpse into prices and affordability of cancer drugs around the world and sets the stage for further research,” said lead study author Daniel A. Goldstein, MD, a senior physician in medical oncology at Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tkvah, Israel. “However, 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.”
About the Study
According to the authors, this is one of the largest analyses of differences in cancer drug prices between countries worldwide. Prior research in this field has been sporadic and based on reports on single drugs in only a few countries or regions.
The researchers calculated monthly drug doses for 15 generic and eight patented cancer drugs used to treat a wide range of cancer types and stages. Retail (list) drug prices in Australia, China, India, South Africa, United Kingdom, Israel, and the United States were obtained predominantly from government websites.
GDPcapPPP is a measure of national wealth that takes into consideration the cost of living. The GDPcapPPP data for each country was obtained from the International Monetary Fund and researchers used it to estimate the affordability of drugs.