Oncology management has evolved due to approval of new oncologic agents and their expensive costs. Previously, limited medication availability left practitioners with minimal options for cancer treatment. Newer cancer agents are designed to improve a patient’s quality of life and hopefully, overall outcome. With the rapid development of new oncologic medications, the management process has posed a challenge to physicians and payers. Providing oncologic medications in the most cost-effective manner requires cost-management strategies to weigh the benefits and risks.
Topics: High Cost Medications, pharmacy spend, Specialty Drug Cost Control, Specialty Drug, drug costs,, new cancer drugs, oncology medication, oncologic agents, FDA drug approvals, oncology, new oncology drugs
Over the past few years, prescription drug costs have risen in a dramatic fashion. According to a federal report released this spring, prescription-drug spending rose 12.6% in 2014 and spending is expected to rise 7.3% a year through 2018. The increased cost is most closely associated with the influx of specialty drugs—high-cost prescription medications used to treat complex, chronic conditions. Rather than offset these prices, generic drugs costs are also experiencing an increase in price adding to the prescription drug cost burden. Drug utilization and the increasing cost of prescription drugs for members who require these medications as maintenance therapy is constantly in the forefront of discussion.
Spending on specialty pharmaceuticals climbed 18 percent in 2015, compared to an increase of less than 1 percent for standard prescription medications. The burgeoning outlay comes as no surprise considering the hefty price tag of these new drugs, with some reaching upwards of $60,000 for a course of treatment.