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      A global comparison of the cost of patented cancer drugs in relation to global differences in wealth

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          Abstract

          Introduction

          There are major differences in cancer drug prices around the world. However, the patterns of affordability of these drugs are poorly understood. The objective of this study was to compare patterns of affordability of cancer drugs in Australia, China, India, Israel, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

          Results

          Cancer drug prices are highest in the United States. Cancer drugs are the least affordable in India by a large margin. Despite lower prices than in the USA, cancer drugs are less affordable in middle-income countries than in high-income countries.

          Materials and Methods

          We obtained the prices of a basket of cancer drugs in all 7 countries, and converted the prices to US$ using both foreign exchange rates and purchasing power parity. We assessed international differences in wealth by collecting values for gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in addition to average salaries. We compared patterns of affordability of cancer drugs by dividing the drug prices by the markers of wealth.

          Conclusions

          Cancer drugs are less affordable in middle-income countries than in high-income countries. Differential pricing may be an acceptable policy to ensure global affordability and access to highly active anti-cancer therapies.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Trastuzumab after adjuvant chemotherapy in HER2-positive breast cancer.

          Trastuzumab, a recombinant monoclonal antibody against HER2, has clinical activity in advanced breast cancer that overexpresses HER2. We investigated its efficacy and safety after excision of early-stage breast cancer and completion of chemotherapy. This international, multicenter, randomized trial compared one or two years of trastuzumab given every three weeks with observation in patients with HER2-positive and either node-negative or node-positive breast cancer who had completed locoregional therapy and at least four cycles of neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy. Data were available for 1694 women randomly assigned to two years of treatment with trastuzumab, 1694 women assigned to one year of trastuzumab, and 1693 women assigned to observation. We report here the results only of treatment with trastuzumab for one year or observation. At the first planned interim analysis (median follow-up of one year), 347 events (recurrence of breast cancer, contralateral breast cancer, second nonbreast malignant disease, or death) were observed: 127 events in the trastuzumab group and 220 in the observation group. The unadjusted hazard ratio for an event in the trastuzumab group, as compared with the observation group, was 0.54 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.43 to 0.67; P<0.0001 by the log-rank test, crossing the interim analysis boundary), representing an absolute benefit in terms of disease-free survival at two years of 8.4 percentage points. Overall survival in the two groups was not significantly different (29 deaths with trastuzumab vs. 37 with observation). Severe cardiotoxicity developed in 0.5 percent of the women who were treated with trastuzumab. One year of treatment with trastuzumab after adjuvant chemotherapy significantly improves disease-free survival among women with HER2-positive breast cancer. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00045032.) Copyright 2005 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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            Efficacy and safety of a specific inhibitor of the BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase in chronic myeloid leukemia.

            BCR-ABL is a constitutively activated tyrosine kinase that causes chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Since tyrosine kinase activity is essential to the transforming function of BCR-ABL, an inhibitor of the kinase could be an effective treatment for CML. We conducted a phase 1, dose-escalating trial of STI571 (formerly known as CGP 57148B), a specific inhibitor of the BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase. STI571 was administered orally to 83 patients with CML in the chronic phase in whom treatment with interferon alfa had failed. Patients were successively assigned to 1 of 14 doses ranging from 25 to 1000 mg per day. Adverse effects of STI571 were minimal; the most common were nausea, myalgias, edema, and diarrhea. A maximal tolerated dose was not identified. Complete hematologic responses were observed in 53 of 54 patients treated with daily doses of 300 mg or more and typically occurred in the first four weeks of therapy. Of the 54 patients treated with doses of 300 mg or more, cytogenetic responses occurred in 29, including 17 (31 percent of the 54 patients who received this dose) with major responses (0 to 35 percent of cells in metaphase positive for the Philadelphia chromosome); 7 of these patients had complete cytogenetic remissions. STI571 is well tolerated and has significant antileukemic activity in patients with CML in whom treatment with interferon alfa had failed. Our results provide evidence of the essential role of BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase activity in CML and demonstrate the potential for the development of anticancer drugs based on the specific molecular abnormality present in a human cancer.
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              Bevacizumab in combination with oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy as first-line therapy in metastatic colorectal cancer: a randomized phase III study.

              To evaluate the efficacy and safety of bevacizumab when added to first-line oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy (either capecitabine plus oxaliplatin [XELOX] or fluorouracil/folinic acid plus oxaliplatin [FOLFOX-4]) in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (MCRC). Patients with MCRC were randomly assigned, in a 2 x 2 factorial design, to XELOX versus FOLFOX-4, and then to bevacizumab versus placebo. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS). A total of 1,401 patients were randomly assigned in this 2 x 2 analysis. Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 9.4 months in the bevacizumab group and 8.0 months in the placebo group (hazard ratio [HR], 0.83; 97.5% CI, 0.72 to 0.95; P = .0023). Median overall survival was 21.3 months in the bevacizumab group and 19.9 months in the placebo group (HR, 0.89; 97.5% CI, 0.76 to 1.03; P = .077). Response rates were similar in both arms. Analysis of treatment withdrawals showed that, despite protocol allowance of treatment continuation until disease progression, only 29% and 47% of bevacizumab and placebo recipients, respectively, were treated until progression. The toxicity profile of bevacizumab was consistent with that documented in previous trials. The addition of bevacizumab to oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy significantly improved PFS in this first-line trial in patients with MCRC. Overall survival differences did not reach statistical significance, and response rate was not improved by the addition of bevacizumab. Treatment continuation until disease progression may be necessary in order to optimize the contribution of bevacizumab to therapy.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Oncotarget
                Oncotarget
                Oncotarget
                ImpactJ
                Oncotarget
                Impact Journals LLC
                1949-2553
                22 September 2017
                9 May 2017
                : 8
                : 42
                : 71548-71555
                Affiliations
                1 Davidoff Cancer Center, Rabin Medical Center, Petach Tikvah, Israel
                2 Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA
                3 Saint Louis University Hospital, St. Louis, MO, USA
                4 First Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical University, Dalian, China
                5 University College London, London, UK
                6 Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: Daniel A. Goldstein, dgolds8@ 123456emory.edu
                Article
                17742
                10.18632/oncotarget.17742
                5641070
                Copyright: © 2017 Goldstein et al.

                This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY), which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

                Categories
                Research Paper

                Oncology & Radiotherapy

                cost, affordability

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