NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Pricing in the Market for Anticancer Drugs

David H. Howard, Peter B. Bach, Ernst R. Berndt, Rena M. Conti

NBER Working Paper No. 20867
Issued in January 2015
NBER Program(s):   HC

Drugs like bevacizumab ($50,000 per treatment episode) and ipilimumab ($120,000 per episode) have fueled the perception that the launch prices of anticancer drugs are increasing over time. Using an original dataset of 58 anticancer drugs approved between 1995 and 2013, we find that launch prices, adjusted for inflation and drugs’ survival benefits, increased by 10%, or about $8,500, per year. Although physicians are not penalized for prescribing costly drugs, they may be reluctant to prescribe drugs with prices that exceed subjective standards of fairness. Manufacturers may set higher launch prices over time as standards evolve. Pricing trends may also reflect manufacturers’ response to expansions in the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which requires manufacturers to provide steep discounts to eligible providers.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20867

Published: David H. Howard & Peter B. Bach & Ernst R. Berndt & Rena M. Conti, 2015. "Pricing in the Market for Anticancer Drugs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol 29(1), pages 139-162.

 
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