Oncology Specialty Spend Hits 5% (Medco)

A few weeks ago, Medco Health Solutions released some compelling (or scary) statistics on oncology spend:

  • Equals 5% of overall prescription costs
  • Grew at rate of 15.1% last year (trailing only autoimmune and multiple sclerosis within specialty drug spend)
  • Expected sales to be $80B by 2012
  • More than 800 drugs in the pipeline
  • 1.48M new diagnoses expected in 2009
  • Costs are typically more than $20,000 for a 12-week therapy and sometimes $10,000 per month

The good news is that people are living longer with the American Cancer Society saying that the 5-year survival rate is up to 66% for all cancers (1996-2004) versus 50% (1975-1977).

BUT, the treatments have lots of side effects which is creating an ancillary market around “supportive care therapies” to manage the side effects.  (Drugs to treat drugs…I understand it but it still seems wrong.)

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