Global cancer drug spending soared in 2014

May 06, 2015, 3:11 PM EDT
A Roche logo sits on a sign outside Roche Holding AG's headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, on Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014.
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Data from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics shows that spending on cancer drugs in 2014 reached the $100 million mark, and spending is only forecasted to keep soaring as cancers increase in prevalence and early treatments are more encouraged. Medscape reports:

The noteworthy threshold was reached even though the share of total spending for cancer drugs increased "only modestly" from 2013, according to the report from IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.
The factors driving the spending are well known to clinicians.
"The increased prevalence of most cancers, earlier treatment initiation, new medicines, and improved outcomes are all contributing to the greater demand for oncology therapeutics around the world," said Murray Aitken, executive director of the organization, in a press statement.
The United States and the five largest European countries account for 66% of the total cancer drug market.
Merck & Co, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche and AstraZeneca are among those developing so-called cancer immunotherapies that harness the body’s immune system to fight tumours.
The earliest of these have been launched in the US in recent months at prices amounting to about $150,000 a year — generating fresh optimism around the pharmaceuticals industry after a decade of sluggish growth.
However, the expected surge of expensive new cancer drugs has raised questions over their affordability for healthcare systems already struggling with the rising cost of caring for an ageing world population.
“Earlier diagnosis, longer treatment duration and increased effectiveness of drug therapies are contributing to rising levels of spending on medicines for cancer,” said the IMS report.