Press review

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Cost of developing new cancer drugs substantially lower than pharma’s claim - report

Country : Spain, Portugal

Keywords :
MADRID, Sep 15 (APM) - A study shows that bringing a new cancer drug to the market costs $648 million instead of $2.2 billion as pharma claims, daily El País reported on Wednesday.
As the approval of Novartis’ CAR-T therapy at $475,000 revives the controversy of rising drug prices, a new study by researchers from Oregon Health and Science University and the Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre debunks pharma’s claim that, according to an estimate by experts from Tufts University, the cost of developing a new cancer drug is $2.2 billion, the newspaper reported. (APMHE 54656) (APMHE 54695)
Pharma argues high prices of new medicines is a consequence of the companies’ extremely high R&D investments.
However, no company discloses the cost of developing their products. The estimate published by Tufts University was based on data provided by 10 companies and included 106 drugs, but did not disclose the names of the companies, nor did it provide information about which drugs were included. This estimate has been updated a number of times and it is the reference figure used by pharma lobbies, including Spain’s Farmaindustria, El País said.
The new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, focused on the R&D spending of 10 pharmaceutical companies that have only one cancer drug in the U.S. El País quoted the authors as saying: “This is one of the first transparent estimates of R&D costs of oncology drugs, and it has implications in the current debate about drug prices.”
The newspaper quoted Josep Tabernero, president-elect of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) as saying the new estimate is correct and that pharma’s profits are not sustainable. As an example, Tabernero referred to Gilead/Kite’s CAR-T therapy, which might cost as much as $700,000. (APMHE 54698)

Ipsen's head of Spain says open to risk-sharing schemes

Guillermo Castillo, Ipsen’s head of Spain, said the company is willing to sign risk-sharing agreements as a way to contribute to the sustainability of the healthcare system, medical journal Redacción Médica reported on Thursday.
Castillo said Ipsen hopes more Spanish hospitals get involved in clinical trials of the firm’s cancer drug Cabometyx (cabozantinib) and other of the company’s products, the journal reported.
In his opinion, the agreement to limit drug expenditure in Spain is good because companies have to prove they innovate and if the increase in drug expenditure is higher than that of the country's gross domestic product, pharma will reimburse the excess to the government, making access to new drugs sustainable.
He said it is good news that the agreement was extended. He told the journal this kind of scheme has been working in Portugal for years and it does contribute to the sustainability of the healthcare system. (APMHE 51126)
Castillo said Europe is leaning towards harmonised health technology assessment (HTA) and national authorities should facilitate access to those drugs which really bring value compared to available therapies, the journal added.

Over 2,500 patients denied access to newest cancer drugs in Spain

Over 2,500 cancer patients in Spain lack access to new cancer treatments in public healthcare settings because drugs approved by the European Commission are denied public funding, it was widely reported on Wednesday. (APMHE 54695)
Daily ABC quoted Miguel Martín, president of the Spanish Society for Medical Oncology (SEOM) as saying access to new cancer drugs is far from homogeneous across Spanish regions. Martín clarified that more than denying public funding, often “a series of tricks are used to delay the approval in some autonomous regions, which are the ones which have to pay for medicines”.
Dailies El Mundo, El País, a number of regional newspapers, medical journals Diario Médico, Gaceta Médica, Acta Sanitaria and Redacción Médica also carried the story.

Shkreli imprisoned over threat to Hillary Clinton

Martin Shkreli, "the most hated pharma executive", claimed it was all a joke, but judge Kiyo Matsumoto took his threats very seriously and sent him to prison after he offered a $5,000 reward for a strand of Hillary Clinton's hair, dailies El País and 20 Minutos reports on Friday. (APMHE 54697)
El País, which called Shkreli ‘the king of drugs’, reported he is facing up to 20 years in prison over fraud. (APMHE 54697)
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