Peter Loftus’ article Combination Drug Therapies for Cancer Show Promise at Higher Potential Cost relies on opinion rather than facts. And the opinion he relies on comes from an organization that combines factoids with fiction to demonstrate that new drugs are too expensive.
1. The assertion of Steve Pearson of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) that the combinations will cost more is inaccurate. In a recent report I pointed out that Pearson estimates the cost of combining three drugs for multiple myeloma using list prices of all drugs in making the case for ‘group’ discounts. In fact, the list price of such medicines are already discounted by about 30-50 percent because of rebates drug companies provide. Pearson never notes that these rebates are pocketed by insurers and pharmacy benefit companies even as they force patients to pay 30 percent of the list price of products.
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