Is the price of cancer drugs related to the cost of development and production or to the economic value of their clinical efficacy?
Russi A, Serena M, Palozzo AC
Farmacoeconomia ed economia sanitaria
Recenti Progressi in Medicina
In the past years, the expenditure for cancer drugs has quickly increased, especially for biologic agents. Pharmaceutical companies and national health systems have different approaches in handling the issue of drug reimbursement. Companies support a price based on research and development (R&D) expenditures including those for unsuccessful drug projects while national health systems generally argue that pricing should be based on the incremental benefit generated by the agent under examination (value-based pricing – VBP). Nevertheless, current oncologic drugs prices are too high and not really justified by their incremental benefits or innovation, nor can they demonstrate that higher thresholds in QALYs could bring wider societal benefits. In this article we discuss these two points of view in the light of the most recent national and international literature. In Italy, drug reimbursement is currently managed through a mixed approach between the recognition of R&D expenditures and VBP. Reimbursement is also integrated with post-marketing patient-based national registries, particularly in the field of anti-cancer agents, that provide rebates based on financial risk sharing, cost-sharing, payment by results and success fee methods.