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October 18, 2016

Time to Reassess the Cancer Compendia for Off-label Drug Coverage in Oncology

Author Affiliations
  • 1Cancer Outcomes Research Program, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • 2Associate Editor, JAMA
JAMA. 2016;316(15):1541-1542. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.12770

Use of cancer therapies for indications not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), also known as “off-label” use, is widely practiced in oncology care.1 Examples include bevacizumab in metastatic esophageal cancer or cetuximab in metastatic prostate cancer. In the United States, off-label use of 10 common cancer drugs accounted for nearly $5 billion in costs in 2010,1 an amount that likely substantially underrepresents current off-label spending given the escalation in oncology drug pricing and number of available products, but recent comprehensive estimates have not been published.

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