[Ip-health] WHO on returns from R&D on cancer medicines

James Love james.love at keionline.org
Tue Nov 27 07:14:26 PST 2018

144th session 26 November 2018
Provisional agenda item 5.7
Medicines, vaccines and health productsCancer medicines
Report by the Director-General on Cancer Medicines (EB144/18)

12. To examine returns on research and development investments, an analysis
was undertaken to examine the sales incomes from cancer medicines approved
by the United States Food and Drug Administration from 1989 to 2017 for the
originator companies. For the 99 medicines included in the analysis, the
average income return by end-2017 was found to be US$ 14.50 (range: US$
3.30 to US $55.10) for every US$ 1 of research and development spending,
after adjustments for the probability of trial failure and opportunity
costs; 33 of those medicines had already qualified as “blockbuster drugs”
by having an average annual sales income exceeding US$ 1 billion. Many
medicines, particularly biologics, continued to generate high sales incomes
for the originator companies after expiry of patents and the end of
exclusive marketing rights. 1

3. Overall, the analysis suggests that the costs of research and
development and production may bear little or no relationship to how
pharmaceutical companies set prices of cancer medicines. Pharmaceutical
companies set prices according to their commercial goals, with a focus on
extracting the maximum amount that a buyer is willing to pay for a
medicine. This pricing approach often makes cancer medicines unaffordable,
preventing the full benefit of the medicines from being realized.

James Love.  Knowledge Ecology International
http://www.keionline.org <http://www.keionline.org/donate.html>

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