5. Copycats or cost controls?

Has risk reduction negatively impacted cancer drug developments? Dr. Richard Pazdur, head of the FDA’s office of oncology products, expressed this concern during the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting last week regarding the number of similar drugs in development, all focused on the PD-1 protein that cancerous tumors use to evade the immune system. While immunotherapy has shown promise even with the deadliest cancers, these therapies are currently priced in the $150k per year range, prompting not just “me-too” drugs, but me-too desires for the profits generated by these drugs. Many in the industry responded with the importance of PD-1 candidates for future combination therapies and the potential benefit to patients in the form of lower drug prices when there is competition in the marketplace.