Strategies for Stabilizing Chemo Prices During Ongoing Drug Shortage

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Implementing tax benefits for manufacturers who produce chemotherapy drugs may be one solution to increase drug production in the United States, according to Lucio N. Gordan, MD.

CancerNetwork® spoke with Lucio N. Gordan, MD, about potential strategies to stabilize chemotherapy drug prices during the ongoing chemotherapy shortage in the United States, and potentially prevent other shortages in the future.

According to Gordan, president and managing physician at Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute who sees patients in the state-wide practice's Gainesville Cancer Center, having a dedicated multitask force determine fair prices for chemotherapy drugs may prevent manufacturers from operating at a loss, incentivizing them to provide a greater supply of these agents. He also described how tax benefits and subsidization programs may also act as potential incentives for manufacturers to increase production of agents such as cisplatin and carboplatin.

Transcript:

From a shortage standpoint, we need to make sure that we understand the mechanisms that bring the prices of the drugs down. It's important that Congress understands that. And from a brand drug standpoint, we understand there's enormous pressure on pharmaceutical companies to keep the prices under control; [it is] certainly a reasonable ask to help patients and consumers afford them. However, for the generic drugs and other classes of drugs like biosimilars, there is a very profound erosion of pricing because these drugs are commoditized. The financial value goes down over time, quarter over quarter. Eventually, it gets to the point that it's not worth it for a manufacturer to produce such drugs to bring to us. The number one [priority] is to fix that.

Without the financials working, there's no way we can force anybody to produce more drugs at a loss. How can we fix this? One is to stabilize and get to the bottom of pricing for specific drugs. Of course, there has to be a multitask force that understands the problem and make sure we find a fair number. The other way of doing this is [implementing] potential tax benefits for manufacturers that produce generics or some form of subsidizing the production of such drugs.

I think that's the most important part, because in my opinion, it's mostly a financial problem. We live in a very capitalist world, and it boils down to having a good end point for the manufacturer to bring the drug to the patients.

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