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ASCO Focuses on High Cancer Cost and Hepatitis C Patients Seek Lower Cost Treatments Via Medical Tourism

IP Blog | Dave Melin | June 7, 2015

BioBlog Weekly oncologyThis week in healthcare, the ASCO Annual Conference sheds a bright light on the burden of high cancer costs to patients and the U.S. healthcare system and U.S. hepatitis C patients begin to look overseas for cheaper drug access.

Cost of Cancer Drugs Should Be a Part of Treatment Decisions

At the recent ASCO Annual Meeting, one session asked, ““Why treat prices as immutable? Would we really pay an infinite amount for a microscopic benefit?” Experts then went on to discuss that “cost does not necessarily reflect drug value” and how to set cancer drug prices based on value.

Hep C Drug Tourism Has Begun as Patients Seek Harvoni, Sovaldi Overseas

After Indian generic drug makers struck a deal with Gilead for lower prices for its two high-priced hepatitis C drugs, India is now the focus of a potential new wave of “drug tourism.” According to a spokesman from the Medical Tourism Association, “I know people who have hepatitis C and the only thing they can think about is getting this drug. There is definitely a high interest in going abroad.”

ASCO 2015: Abstract Thoughts on Cancer and Competition

This Forbes analysis of abstracts presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting highlights the focus on the “ErbB family” and immuno-oncology checkpoint targets” at the conference.

Early Results from Anthem Cancer Quality Care Program Show Promising Future

Data released at the recent ASCO Annual Meeting by Anthem about their cancer quality care program showed that “between July and December 2014, 616 practices registered 5,538 patients in the program that included the three types of cancer offered–breast, colorectal and non-small cell lung cancer.”

CMS Releases New Physician, Hospital Payment Data

CMS’s recent release of reimbursement data for Medicare Part B shows $90 billion reimbursed to 950,000 providers in 2013. While the average reimbursement amount came to $74,000, five doctors received more than $10 million.

ASCO 2015: Economic Costs a Burden for Cancer Survivors

A recent ASCO study, whose findings were presented at the recent Annual Meeting in Chicago, has found that “the total annual economic burden per nonelderly cancer survivor was $20,238 for colorectal, $14,202 for breast, and $9,278 for prostate cancer.”

Experts Discuss Medicare’s New Oncology Care Model

To discuss CMS’s new oncology care model, The American Journal of Managed Care convened a panel of experts at its Oncology Stakeholders Summit. The panel included experts from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and the Community Oncology Alliance.

Carriers Are Seeking Big Rate Hikes for 2016

As health plans begin to look ahead to rates for 2016, many are hoping to raise their rates. AIS Health reports that “major players on the exchanges are seeking rate hikes well into the double digits for the 2016 plan year.”

ASCO, NCI Announce Plans for Precision Medicine Trials

At ASCO’s Annual Meeting this past week, ASCO announced plans for their Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry (TAPUR) study and the National Cancer Institute for their NCI-MATCH: Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice trial.

ACA’s Medical Loss Ratio Not Hurting Insurers

A recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation about the medical loss ratio (MLR) in 2014 has found that “the financial performance of insurers has not changed substantially since the years before the Affordable Care Act.”

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