The political economics of cancer drug discovery and pricing

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In highly politicised and heavily regulated markets for new anticancer drugs, the long-term value of extending life and reducing illness-related distress and disability is at risk of being underestimated: the fundamental goal of pharmaceutical price regulation should be to help assure universal access to continuously improving treatment

Drug discoveries can, when used appropriately, save lives. Since 1970,

cancer death rates among people aged under 65 have halved in countries
such as the USA and the UK. Despite pharmaceutical market imperfections
and fears about the prices of new treatments, further progress should be
possible during the 2020s. Anticancer medicine outlays account for 0.1–
0.2% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of developed countries. Total
cancer service spending typically stands at  0.8% of GDP. The
affordability of these sums is a political calculation. Improvements in the
efficiency of drug development and global access to effective therapies are
desirable. However, from a public interest perspective, these goals should
not be pursued in ways that understate the value of better treatment
outcomes and threaten the funding available for ongoing innovation

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