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

e inflation surged to 11.5 percent during 2010. Higher prescribing for newer treatments such as Revlimid® (lenalidomide) for multiple myeloma and Gleevec® (imatinib mesylate), a tablet for chronic myeloid leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumors drove sharp increases in trend. More than 90 percent of anti-cancer drugs approved since 2004 cost more than $20,000 for a 12-week course of therapy, according to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Many of these newer treatments are oral medications or can be self administered, changing the dynamic of cancer care delivery toward the home, rather than in physician's office or infusion center. This dynamic shows no signs of abating.

"It's an exciting time in the area of cancer treatment, but as these new, targeted treatments come to market it is vital to ensure that each patient and caregiver understands the importance of adherence and the detailed dosing instructions associate with them," said Dr. Milayna Subar, national practice leader for the Medco Oncology Therapeutic Resource Center™. "Helping patients manage the unique needs of their disease across the continuum of care with specialists and a personalized medicine program will help to improve outcomes for the patient and could help to manage down the projected drug trend of 15-17 percent for these new specialty medications."

Stettin added: "The emergence of biosimilar drugs will help mitigate some of the costs of specialty drugs, when they start to reach the marketplace in or around 2013. We are already working with employers and other health plan providers to prepare for these fast-approaching future trends."

2010 Drug Trend:  3.7 Percent

Higher generic drug dispensing helped limit prescription drug spending growth to 3.7 percent during 2010, the report also revealed. In 2010, more than 71 percent of the prescription drugs dispensed were for generics. In fact, Medco, during its s
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SOURCE Medco
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