Cancer Drugs: Cost vs. Affordability

By Steve Barrett
Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Reduced prices for cancer drugs in middle-income countries do not ensure the drugs are as affordable to patients in those nations as they are to patients in high-income nations, according to a study published in Oncotarget.

Researchers assessed affordability in high-income countries including the United States, Australia, Israel and the United Kingdom, upper-middle-income countries including China and South Africa, and one lower-middle-income country, India.

Despite often significantly lower prices for the drugs in middle-income nations, disparities in wealth rendered patients in those nations less able to afford the drugs. This held true whether average salary or gross domestic product was the benchmark for determining a nation’s wealth.

Researchers suggested that differential pricing worldwide for hepatitis C drugs — accomplished with government and industry partnerships that discouraged development of a black market — could be a model for making cancer drugs more affordable.