Chasing Cheaper Cancer Drugs

Source: Reuters, Ben Hirschler  (4/2/12)

"A new model that takes advantage of the highly specific nature of modern targeted therapies could slash drug development timelines and costs."


Reuters, Ben Hirschler

In developed and developing countries alike, patients and governments are struggling to pay for modern drugs that are revolutionizing cancer care but may cost tens of thousands of dollars a year for each patient.

"It's very frustrating," says Workman, who heads up the drug discovery unit at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), which is funded in large part by charities.

What is needed, he believes, is a new model that takes advantage of the highly specific nature of modern targeted therapies to slash drug development timelines and costs.

In the long term, Workman is convinced that will happen. But for the moment the world is caught in a pinch point as global drug companies put sky-high price tags on cancer medicines in a bid to recoup development costs for drugs aimed at a relatively small number of cancer sufferers.

The strains are growing—whether in Europe, where austerity has savaged healthcare budgets, or in the United States, where out-of-pocket costs can bankrupt patients, or in the developing world, where price tags of around $5,000 for a month's drug supply are simply out of reach. . .View Full Article

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