The Value of Oncology Innovation

The Value of Oncology Innovation

06.12.12 | By Kate Connors

Today, the Boston Healthcare Associates released "Recognizing Value in Oncology Innovation," a noteworthy paper about the importance of recognizing the full clinical value of a cancer medicine, arguing that the overall value is much greater than we might initially understand.

For example, the report says: "While the intrinsic 'value' (or clinical properties) of a therapy does not change, our understanding of the benefits and risks of the therapy evolves over time through the continual testing and validation that is common in oncology. Therefore, FDA approval often marks the 'starting point"'for a number of additional studies of the therapy, followed by the development of a larger body of evidence to help us understand the full value of the treatment and, more importantly, to help clinicians understand how best to use available therapies when treating their patients."

Below are a few thoughts from BHA's Thomas F. Goss, PharmD, one of the authors of the study.

It's not uncommon to hear headlines from major oncology meetings like ASCO, AACR, and ASH and forget how complex the process of innovation and advancement is in oncology clinical development.

Innovation involves a careful, orchestrated process between sponsors, clinical investigators, and real patients who are looking for hope. We see the impact of this innovation in clinical trial outcomes metrics, such as the overall survival and progression-free survival, as well as public health statistics, such as the overall reduction in annual cancer mortality rates reported by the NCI.

But what happens in between the discovery of a molecule and real-world patient treatment to turn these scientific gains into patient gains? The "Recognizing Value in Oncology Innovation" paper released today illustrates some of the key dynamics in this process of innovation, which is not a straightforward, linear process, but rather a complex, high-risk process that sustains innovation by building on incremental successes and setbacks to provide effective therapies to cancer patients and their care providers.

In order to sustain continued progress in the fight against cancer and build on previous successes, patients, providers, insurers, and discovery companies need sound policy approaches that incentivize innovation by aligning with the often incremental process by which innovation occurs in cancer discovery and treatment.

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