Cancer costs are up–but there’s more to the story than rising prices, report says

Global spending on oncology treatments and supportive care drugs hit $113 billion in 2016, up from $107 billion in 2015.  And over the past five (5) years, the total global cost of cancer meds has swelled at a constant annual growth rate of 8.7%, according to a new report from the QuintilesIMS Institute.  That is significantly higher than the 4.9% constant annual growth rate recorded over the previous five (5) years, Quintiles notes.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is the U.S. that is accounting for the lion’s share of the costs, at 46%.  However, it is not just high price tags on new meds driving the higher bill, Quintiles notes.  Better drugs that help patients live longer mean patients stay on therapy longer, too — and that ups the cost of treatment.  “Two-thirds of growth in U.S. oncology costs is attributable to uptake of innovative medicines which have helped improve survival curves,” Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat pointed out in a note to clients.

While the U.S. may be eating up the bulk of costs, though, costs are growing at a comparable rate to its 11%  n other parts of the world. Europe’s big five markets — France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. — posted a 2016 growth rate of 10.8% last year, and emerging markets checked in with a growth rate of 8.4%.

Leave a Comment