Cost of cancer drugs

Elizabeth Sukkar, deputy news editor of The Pharmaceutical Journal, talked to BBC Radio Leicester about the cost of cancer drugs and cost of developing new medicines.

She discussed the recent announcement made by NHS England that 25 clinical indications of life-extending cancer drugs will no longer be available to patients in England through the cancer drugs fund (CDF).

Sukkar said: “The CDF is raising very legitimate concerns on how the NHS values different treatments. The rationing of medicines is not unique to the UK. It is happening around the world.”

She explained that despite the R&D intensity, innovation success rates have declined compared to previous decades. The increase in R&D costs is driven by two factors, she said. Straightforward diseases have been tackled, so there is an increasing focus on complex pathologies, such as research into anti-cancer drugs; and is also driven by the stricter regulatory burden, which makes clinical testing expensive.

“The bulk of the R&D costs are in clinical trials, making up over 43% of total R&D costs,” she said.

Listen to the BBC Radio Leicester interview here.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 31 January 2015, Vol 294, No 7847;294(7847):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20067623

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