The Cost of New Cancer Drugs is Increasing

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The median annual cost for new oncology medicines launched in 2022 was $260,000, up from $63,534 10 years ago, an IQVIA report finds.

The number of new cancer drugs with costs exceeding $200,000 per year has been increasing, accounting for 44% of launches in the past five years, up from 7% in the prior five years, according to the Global Oncology Trends 2023 report from IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. And in the past five years, 79% of oncology launches had annual costs above $100,000, up from 52% in the prior five years.

Last year, spending for high-cost therapies totaled $48 billion, with the median annual cost for new oncology medicines being $260,000, up from $63,534 10 years ago.

Over the last five years, 115 novel active substances in oncology have launched globally, There were 10 new cancer medicines launched in the United States in 2022, and nine were orphan designated (see table below).

But spending on cancer medicines is growing, rising 4% to $196 billion globally and is expected to reach $375 billion globally by 2027. In the United States specifically, spending has risen from $58 billion in 2018 to $88 billion in 2022.

IQVIA researchers said that the Inflation Reduction Act will likely impact prices into the future. Passed and signed into law last year, the Act includes several provisions to lower prescription drug spending. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the drug pricing provisions in the law will reduce the federal deficit by $237 billion over 10 years.

Related: HHS Names 27 Drugs Subject to Medicare Inflation Rebates

Of the initial drugs chosen by the Department of Health and Human Services for price negotiation, five are for cancer or cancer-related conditions. These include: Helsinn’s Akynezo which is given to patients to treat chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting; Partner Therapeutics’ Leukine (sargramostim), a granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor used after chemotherapy for acute myelogenous leukemia; Pfizer’s Nipent (pentostatin) to treat patients with hairy cell leukemia; Astellas/Seagen’s Padcev (enfortumab vedotin) to treat patients with bladder cancer and those with cancer of the urinary tract; and Janssen’s Rybrevant (amivantamab-vmjs) to treat patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

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