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October 11, 2021

Paying for Cancer Drugs That Prove Their Benefit

Author Affiliations
  • 1Schaeffer Initiative on Health Policy, The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC
  • 2Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine and Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
JAMA. 2021;326(16):1579-1580. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.18308

The United States pays prices for brand-name drugs that are estimated to be 256% higher than other wealthy nations.1 As the accelerated approval of aducanumab for Alzheimer disease shows, high prices (announced price for aducanumab is $56 000 per year) extend to drugs that are promising but have not been shown by randomized clinical trials to provide long-term clinical benefits. Today, many new high-cost cancer medications (such as belantamab mafodotin-blmf and lapatinib) have become available for use through the accelerated approval pathway.

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