jueves, 6 de junio de 2013

Oncología...mina de oro para industria farmacéutica

Yervoy (ipilimumab), costs about $40,000 per month in the United States, and £15,000 ($23,000) in the United Kingdom, where health-care officials negotiated a lower price. So far, expensive immunotherapies have been approved only for treating melanoma and prostate cancer. But this weekend, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, Illinois, investigators will present promising results from trials that indicate that immunotherapies could soon have a role in treating cancers of the lung, kidney and stomach. (...)

Yervoy, made by Bristol-Myers Squibb, headquartered in New York, is remarkable because a three-month course can send cancer into remission for years (see go.nature.com/k1e3m2). However, only about one-quarter of patients with advanced melanoma responds to the drug, which spurs tumour-killing T cells into action by blocking an inhibitory signal. “When Yervoy was first approved in 2011, we all recognized that it was an important moment for the field,” says Jedd Wolchok, an oncologist at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. “But it was also a call to do better.” (...)

Drug developers attribute the high cost of the drugs to the expense of research and development, which is compounded by the industry’s high failure rate. Wolchok notes that drugs such as Yervoy have a small market, and speculates that prices may fall once their markets expand to other cancers. But Peter Bach, who studies health-care policy at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, is sceptical that industry will cut prices. “I have never seen that,” he says. “I have only seen the opposite.” 

Ver más:
 Nature 497, 544 (30 May 2013)
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