Many new cancer drugs are prohibitively expensive but offer patients more hype than hope.
The gold-standard for testing medicines is the double-blind clinical trial, where a new drug is compared with a placebo or existing treatment. But 13 of the recent cancer medicines were approved based on early phase trials, at least seven with no comparison group at all, and what are called “surrogate endpoints.” This makes it harder to assess the actual therapeutic value provided by the new treatments yet cancer treatments seem to be given the benefit of the doubt. For example, the overall survival benefits for many new cancer treatments still remain to be seen yet they are funded throughout Canada.
Canada should look to tighten its regulations for approving cancer products, gathering more patient benefit date before approving cancer drugs, which can tie into their prices to provide a more value based pricing system to provide patients with real value for money.