Experts warn of the exponential increase in the cost of metastatic colorectal cancer treatments

The new treatments for metastatic colorectal cancer have achieved that the change in the life expectancy of the patients has been very important, however, they have also meant a significant increase in pharmaceutical expenditure. That is why Spanish researchers have decided to make a more concrete analysis of the cost of the treatments, to present it at the 21st World ESMO Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer, held in Barcelona from July 3 to 6.

One of the main conclusions of this work is that the cost of treatments for metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) for each month of life gained varies widely among the different lines of treatment available. Thus, the results show that the cost of these therapies varies greatly-from 2,000 to 30,000 euros per month of life gained-and third line treatments have lower cost per month of life gained than those used in the first or second line. Specifically, the calculation of cost per month of life gained was made with the sale price of the laboratories of medicines in our country.

In this regard, José Mª Viéitez de Prado, head of the Section of Digestive Tumors of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Madrid, explains that "one of the most expensive treatments is an antiangiogenic that can be used in the second line, around 30,000 euros, although this figure may vary according to the agreements established between hospital centers and industry (shared risk, payment for results, etc.) "

On the other hand, anti-EGFR drugs, having associated a biological marker of non-response, achieve a better result in patients with the native RAS gene and a more beneficial cost / month of life ratio. "In general terms, the increase in survival in the first line is more expensive than in third for the duration of the treatments," says the expert.

Containment of expenditure

Given these data, currently spending on medicines is being restricted with a more favorable cost profile per month of life gained. Thus, in terms of cost containment, according to José Mª Viéitez de Prado, the participation of three actors is necessary: ​​patients (society), pharmaceutical industry and payers (insurance companies, public health, etc.).

The key, as indicated, would be that "payers report on the level of clinical relevance for which they are willing to pay and, in turn, patients are aware of the conditions that must be met for a treatment to be reimbursable, see, for example, the expense per month of life earned that is willing to pay. "

Finally, Josep Tabernero, president of ESMO and vice-president of this congress, about the celebration of the Congress said that "medical oncologists increasingly have to look more at the value of the actions we carry out, not only from the point of view of effectiveness, but also from the cost they have for society ".

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