The increasing number of specialty drugs will drive pharmaceutical spending and exert greater pressure on the demonstration of the value of these drugs, said Douglas Long, Vice President of Industry Relations at IMS Health, at the Fifth Annual Conference of the Association for Value-Based Cancer Care.
It is the best of times and the worst of times in oncology. It is the best of times, because the basic understanding of cancer biology has advanced dramatically and is resulting in real changes to the way we treat cancer. It is the worst of times, because the price tag may not fit in the budget.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is to be commended for its recently published statement on a conceptual framework to assess the value of cancer therapies. This marks an important, meaningful step forward as clinicians recognize the financial implications of choosing therapies.
My personal journey to understanding and experiencing up close and personal the complexities in cancer care started some 20 years ago, when, like many of us, someone extremely close to you gets the dreaded news, “you have cancer.” For me, this was my mom. Regretfully, as we grow older, we all continue to hear this dreadful tale more frequently. These events have transformed my career over time to turn it into a mission—improving cancer care and seeking the cure.
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The emergence of various tools for assessing value or, more to the point, drug costs—both direct and indirect—by leaders within the oncology and hematology community is highly commendable. Those of us on the managed care side of healthcare look forward to practical and meaningful tools in helping patients, providers, employers, and health plans navigate through the complexity of oncology drug therapy and drive better informed decision-making.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) value framework essentially calls for accountability and transparency, which are qualities that are beneficial to providing complete care for patients and to improving positive patient outcomes.
Medicare’s Oncology Care Model (OCM) proposes a partial shift in financial risk from Medicare to oncologists. This incentivizes oncologists to use higher-value, lower-cost services. Information such as the recently released American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) framework to assess new cancer treatment options will likely garner keen interest among providers participating in the OCM or similar programs, to the benefit of providers, payers, and patients.
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