[Ip-health] On World Cancer Day, do we celebrate the approval of Pfizer's $118, 200 drug Ibrance?

Manon Ress manon.ress at keionline.org
Wed Feb 4 10:01:18 PST 2015


On World Cancer Day, do we celebrate the approval of Pfizer's $118,200 drug

Submitted by Manon Ress on 4. February 2015

Today, on World Cancer Day, there has been many great announcements and

The FDA approved Pfizer's new drug Ibrance (INN: palbociclib) for the
treatment of metastatic (advanced) breast cancer to be used in combination
with letrozole based on a 165 person trial at UCLA's cancer center. (FDA
press release here, ABC story here.)

For previously untreated postnopausal women whose cancer cells have
receptors to estrogen (and who do not have mutations in the HER2 gene) in
other words the largest proportion of breast cancer cases typically treated
with the chemotherapy tamoxifen (off patent and cheap chemo "in a pill") or
letrozole, this could very well be a game changer. More life, more time and
hope. That is if they can afford it.

Pfizer says the price will be $9,850 a month, or $118,200 per year of

Analysts have estimated the drug will earn more than $4 billion per year in

The research originated in 2007, when UCLA's Dr. Dennis Finn and Dr.
Richard Slamon met with Pfizer to discuss palbociclib and other
experimental drugs in the company's pipeline. UCLA which helped test the
drug for Pfizer, said Ibrance produced "groundbreaking results" in studies
conducted at the university and has potential to become a mainstay

So, today, on World Cancer Day Pfizer announced a donation of $500.000 to
the Union for International Cancer Control

As one of my colleague pointed out, this is the equivalent of what it will
cost 5 women to pay for one year of treatment with the new Pfizer product.

Time to celebrate?

Manon Ress, Ph.D.
Knowledge Ecology International, KEI
manon.ress at keionline.org, tel.: +1 202 332 2670
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