Balancing the Economics and Ethics of Personalised Oncology

Trends Cancer. 2018 Sep;4(9):608-615. doi: 10.1016/j.trecan.2018.07.006. Epub 2018 Aug 17.


The cost of personalised medicine in oncology is increasing. The varied and contrasting priorities of the pharmaceutical industry, local and national governments, international medical community, and patients need to be reviewed and balanced. In addition to the economic and political standpoints on this issue, the ethical considerations from physicians' viewpoints need to be considered to optimise cancer patients' care. In this paper we discuss the way research and development (R&D) of these drugs is carried out and reimbursed, and how this needs to change. We describe frameworks assessing the value of these treatments which been developed. Physicians need to develop their knowledge and understanding of these issues to best meet their dual responsibilities of advocating for their patients and promoting public health.

Keywords: health economics; oncology; personalised oncology; targeted medicine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Costs
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology / economics*
  • Medical Oncology / ethics*
  • Neoplasms / economics
  • Precision Medicine / economics*
  • Precision Medicine / ethics*
  • Resource Allocation