What do drugs cost in the long run?

That is the question that Lakdawalla et al. (2017) attempt to answer in the latest edition of the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC).  The long-run average cost (LAC) of a pharmaceutical includes not only initial branded drug price, but also subsequent prices increases and decreases, especially those that occur after a treatment’s patent has expired…

Off-label use of cancer drugs

When each drug is approved by the FDA, the drug is not approved to treat all patients.  Each drug receives an “indication” which basically represents the types of patients the drug can treat.  Giving the treatment to patients with said indication is known as “on label” prescribing. Drugs developed to treat one disease may sometimes…

Innovation in small markets

The introduction of new treatment technologies typically occurs where there is a large market.  A lot of innovations are developed to treat disease that affect a large number of people in the developed world because the financial returns are large.  It is less likely to observe innovation in the treatment of rare diseases or diseases…

Prior authorization and opioid abuse

An interesting article by Cochran et al. (2017) examines whether health plan prior authorization rules can help prevent opioid abuse.  The authors use Pennsylvania Medicaid data from 2010 to 2012.  The data included both fee-for-service and managed care enrollees. The authors measured opioid abuse based on diagnosis codes for opioid use disorder (304.0, 304.00, 304.01,…

Predicting Real-World Effectiveness of Cancer Therapies Using OS and PFS Clinical Trials Endpoints

Clinical trials for cancer treatments aim to demonstrate whether one treatment is better than another. What is of most interest to patients, providers and payers, however, is which treatment works best in the real-world, not in a randomized controlled trial. Further, clinical trials often use progression free survival to measure treatment outcomes rather than overall…