BURLINGTON, Mass., April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that, despite the numerous therapies in clinical development for extensive-disease small-cell lung cancer (ED-SCLC), no emerging therapy is likely to replace etoposide (Bristol-Myers Squibb's Etopophos/VePesid, generics)/carboplatin (generics) as the standard of care before 2022. Interviewed experts complain that treatment for SCLC has changed very little in decades, and—given the challenges of treating this aggressive disease and the current clinical pipeline—experts are pessimistic that the treatment landscape will improve in the near future.
The DecisionBase 2013 report entitled How Receptive Would Oncologists and Payers Be to Therapies That Partially Address the Unmet Needs of Patients with Advanced Disease? finds that surveyed U.S. and European oncologists agree that increasing overall survival (OS) is one of the greatest unmet needs in ED-SCLC. Despite high response rates with first-line therapy, most patients relapse within a year after treatment and survival rates remain dismal. Experts admit that, should efficacy benefits be seen with therapies in development—such as Ziopharm Oncology's Zymafos, Bristol-Myers Squibb's Yervoy, Genentech/Roche/Chugai's Avastin or Immunogen's lorvotuzumab mertansine—these benefits will likely be only incremental improvements that will not transform current treatment practice. According to the findings, a drug that offers marked improvement in survival presents a strong commercial opportunity to developers, although no drug in clinical development is expected to impart such substantial gains.
The report also finds that most surveyed managed care organization (MCO) pharmacy directors would consider reimbursing new therapies at a substantial premium to the current standard of care if such drugs can impart meaningful gains in survival relative to etoposide/carboplatin. Surveyed payers indicated that ED-SCLC therapies that impart an OS benefit could command price premiums as high as 20 times the cost of etoposide/carboplatin regimen and still be able to obtain reimbursement. This willingness to include premium-priced drugs on formulary reflects the dearth of therapies for ED-SCLC that improve survival relative to etoposide/carboplatin.
"A major problem in the treatment of ED-SCLC is the development of chemoresistant disease," said Decision Resources Senior Analyst Regina Jammen. "Finding therapies that can be used upfront for newly diagnosed patients that do not induce resistance would be a real benefit to patients. Such a therapy would likely not provide a cure but oncologists and patients alike would value new therapies that extend survival beyond what we are seeing now. It is reassuring to know that payers would accept substantial price increases over current treatments for innovative therapies and would include them on formulary, even if cost controls slow uptake of these potential new therapies."
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SOURCE Decision Resources