PhRMA @ #ASCO13: Specialty Medicines Bring About Major Health Advances

PhRMA @ #ASCO13: Specialty Medicines Bring About Major Health Advances

05.31.13 | By Jennifer Wall

The Catalyst is covering #ASCO13 this weekend and we’ll be posting ongoing thoughts on the pulse of the conference. We welcome your feedback and encourage you to leave comments below or tweet @PhRMA.   

Specialty medicines often focus on treating the most complex diseases, including cancer, and are generally perceived to cost more. Contrary to popular belief, these medicines comprise only a small share of health care costs and yield major health advances. These treatments are used by less than five percent of U.S. patients. Among high-cost, severely ill patients, they accounted for just 6.6 percent of their total health plan costs and less than one-third of their overall medication costs.

And they have also helped save lives. Since 1990, cancer death rates have declined 20 percent, and it is largely due to innovative medicines. Cancer patients also live three years longer today than they did in 1980, and new treatments are responsible for 83 percent of this gain. A single specialty medicine is often found to play a role in treating multiple conditions after it is first introduced, which has led to major treatment advances.

If you have a story about how specialty medicines have impacted your life, comment below or tweet @PhRMA using the #ASCO13 hashtag.  

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