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Cancer Drug Use and Spending to Rise Sharply by 2013
Date:5/18/2011

ORLANDO, Fla., May 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Expensive new cancer drugs treating increasing numbers of patients could drive cancer drug spending by as much as 15 percent a year through 2013. At this accelerated rate, oncology drugs will likely rise to the second or third largest trend-driving category by 2015, following only diabetes and central nervous system (CNS) treatments, according to the newly released 2011 Medco Drug Trend Report which tracks utilization and spending.

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Although the incidence of some types of cancers may be decreasing, with better detection the overall numbers of cancers reported in an aging population has increased significantly. Fortunately, due to advanced treatment, the number of U.S. cancer survivors is expected to increase by more than 30 percent -- from 13.8 million in 2010  to 18 million by 2020.

This has heightened demand for oncology specialty drugs – targeted therapies that have increased 6.7 percent according to the report by Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS). The drug trend for specialty cancer treatments reached 21.2 percent, due primarily to unit cost increases of 13.7 percent.

"New cancer drugs reaching the market are expected to double during the next several years," said Dr. Glen Stettin, Medco's chief medical officer. "Early diagnosis, evidence-based treatment and enhanced coordinated care have essentially turned some forms of the condition into chronic illnesses that can be managed longer-term. Continued innovation, including companion diagnostic or pharmacogenomic testing, can help ensure the right person is getting the right drug at the proper dose and reduce waste. However, due to the high cost and extended time patients may need for treatment, using these latest design management tools is paramount."

With the use of many newly introduced specialty drugs reaching market in recent years, oncology drug pric
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