The good news from 2012 might be that more drugs were actually approved (39) than in the very recent past -- but the bad news is that many were VERY expensive. Xconomy's Luke Timmerman did a nice piece summarizing this a couple of days ago. It seems that many of the very high priced drugs are coming into the oncology and "rare disease" or orphan arenas. Many of these drugs carry price tags into the serious 6 digits and are $300K or more annually. Is this sustainable? Are any of these products worth it?
Those are questions that the industry must face as healthcare systems around the world struggle with costs. Individual patients oft times may have to struggle as well depending on what type of insurance coverage they carry. And even in the industry, some players must worry that the action of their peers might be in danger of killing a golden goose if these prices are perceived publicly -- even by physicians -- as being out of line with reality.
What's a drug worth? One answer might be what the market is willing to pay. But will that number change as government and other third party payers become budget constricted. Yes, is the obvious answer. From a payers perspective, they want a price that they feel is commeasurate with the benefits that are received. Same from a patient's perspective, I hope. Do I feel I got my money's worth in terms of improved health or quality of life?
There is no doubt that this issue will not go away.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Feb 13th 2013.