Examining Drug Trend: Oncology

Top 10 Classes - What is Driving Drug Trend

Drug price is driving trend. Overall utilization for the top 10 drug classes in 2016 decreased, while prices increased. To better understand 2016 trend, we will be examining the top 10 therapeutic classes and their trend components. Previously, diabetes and inflammatory diseases. Today, we will examine oncology.

In 2016, the majority of research activity in oncology was on the medical side with immunologic therapies like the PD-1 antibodies, Keytruda and Opdivo. In 2016, Revlimid accounted for 18 percent of total per member per year (PMPY) spend, utilization increased 171.3 percent in 2016. Imbruvica accounted for 7.2 percent of spend and Gleevec accounted for 6.2 percent. 

In 2016, Gleevec went generic, and will drop out of the top-branded agents’ spend category in 2017 for oncology. There is no foreseeable competition for Revlimid, so it will likely continue to be the top-branded agent for PMPY spend in oncology in 2017. Kisqali (ribociclib), an agent similar to Ibrance, was approved by the FDA in March 2017, and could provide some competition, although indication and safety profile slightly differs.  An agent similar to Imbruvica, but touted to have fewer side effects, may be reviewed by the FDA some time in 2017 /2018.

New treatments known as CAR (chimeric antigen receptors) T-cell therapy may be introduced into the market in 2017, which hold the promise as a potential cure in select cancers. These agents will be on the medical benefit, and the price tag will undoubtedly be high with companies quoting benchmark prices of $300,000 to $900,000 for a single, one-time infusion.

See our 2016 Annual Trend Report to learn more about trend drivers and forecasts for the top therapeutic classes. Make sure to check MedConnect for more in this series.

  • Email