Patient access to new cancer drugs in the United States and Australia

Value Health. Sep-Oct 2011;14(6):944-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jval.2011.05.004. Epub 2011 Jul 29.

Abstract

Objectives: In light of the current debate on the use value and potential impact of comparative effectiveness research on patient access, it may prove insightful to compare a health-care system that systematically bases its reimbursement decisions on comparative effectiveness evidence with the United States (US) system that hitherto has only been informed by such evidence on an ad hoc basis.

Methods: For a set of 2000-2009 approved new molecular entities and biologics indicated for cancer, we compared patient access between US Medicare and Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) beneficiaries. Here, access is defined in terms of marketing availability, payer coverage, and patient out-of-pocket costs.

Results: Although 34 drugs and biologics were approved for cancer in the US, just more than one-third (35%) were ultimately covered by the Australian PBS. The PBS also placed more restrictions on use. On the other hand, prices and patient out-of-pocket costs were greater for the US Medicare population.

Conclusion: Our analysis points to a possible trade-off in market access to oncology drugs. Although more oncology drugs are available in the US and a higher percentage of available drugs are covered, the evidence-based approach adopted by Australia has contributed to reduced prices, thereby improving affordability for payers and patients for those medications deemed cost-effective by the reimbursement authority.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / economics*
  • Australia
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health, Reimbursement / statistics & numerical data
  • Medicare / statistics & numerical data
  • State Medicine / statistics & numerical data
  • United States

Substances

  • Antineoplastic Agents