Cost of Pertuzumab
Pertuzumab is a newly approved treatment for her2 positive breast cancer. Beginning with the discovery of herceptin, there has been a great deal of research time and money spent on this variant of breast cancer. Her2 is an attractive target for the development of new therapies, and what used to be a particularly lethal form of the disease has become one which responds well to targeted treatments. I have even heard several doctors comment that, if they were to be diagnosed with breast cancer, they would hope to have her2 positive disease (I don't, so this remark does not soothe me).
This article from OncLive does a very good job of laying out the issues of value and cost. We know that pharmaceutical companies spent vast amounts of money to develop drugs, and most turn out not to be so successful. Most, actually (and not just cancer drugs, all drugs), never make it through clinical trials as their lack of value becomes clear. I don't think that pharma deserves the negative rap it often gets, but it is astounding how much is charged for some drugs. As a country, we can't afford it. Here is the beginning and then a link to read more:
Treatment and Cost Implications of Pertuzumab
Pertuzumab, a new HER2-positive breast cancer drug, is being launched
at a 31% premium to the price of trastuzumab. This is an aggressive
strategy that will substantially increase the cost of treating patients with
metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer, while also aiming to deliver the
best outcomes for patients.
Pertuzumab will be used as an add-on to trastuzumab to treat patients.
Progression-free survival was boosted by 6.1 months when the drugs
were used in combination in the CLEOPATRA study.
With payers already anxious about the rising costs in oncology, an
18-month course of the combination treatment is estimated to reach more
than $180,000. This cost sets the bar high for the future, as expensive
targeted drugs are expected to be used increasingly in combination to
deliver the best outcomes.