Drug Pricing Trends for Orally Administered Anticancer Medications Reimbursed by Commercial Health Plans, 2000-2014 | Targeted and Immune Cancer Therapy | JAMA Oncology | JAMA Network
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Research Letter
July 2016

Drug Pricing Trends for Orally Administered Anticancer Medications Reimbursed by Commercial Health Plans, 2000-2014

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 2Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
JAMA Oncol. 2016;2(7):960-961. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.0648

Prescription drug pricing and changes in prices for existing drugs have been under intense scrutiny recently.1 For anticancer medications, high drug prices have the potential to affect access and adherence to therapies and increase financial burden for patients.2-5 Given the rapidly evolving drug pricing landscape, it is important to evaluate recent pricing for anticancer medications. This study’s objectives were to estimate changes in reimbursements for orally administered anticancer drugs paid by commercial health plans from 2000 through 2014, focusing on reimbursements during the year of product launch and changes in reimbursements over time.

TruvenHealth MarketScan outpatient prescription drug data from January 1, 2000, through December 31, 2014, were used to identify claims for dispensed orally administered anticancer medications approved in 2000 or after,6 excluding any claims for which the total paid was $0 or less or greater than $250 000. To ensure comparable estimates over time, only fills for a single month of therapy were included for all products. There were 483 587 drug fills included in this analysis. Because this was a secondary analysis of deidentified health plan claims, this study received an institutional review board waiver from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.