Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cancer drugs costing billions annually - are worthless


In the wake of the FDA’s decision start the process to revoke Avastin’s approval in breast cancer last week, patients are puzzled and angry over how a drug once touted as a breakthrough  now can be branded as ineffective.  The controversy illustrates just how much the much-vaunted revolution in cancer therapy is driven by hype and high prices.

Selling cancer drugs has become big business, with $52 billion in sales last year, according to IMS.  Some $6 billion of it goes right to Roche’s Avastin, the biggest selling of the new drugs. No wonder companies like Merck and Pfizer are  racing to develop new cancer drugs.

But even as sales reach new heights, and prices keep going up–pretty much any cancer drug now costs $50,000 a year–the results from many trials are getting less and less impressive. Tarceva from Roche extends the life of pancreatic cancer patients by two weeks. Avastin has now failed to extend the lives of breast cancer patients in three giant trials.[...]

1 comment :

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