We’ve seen significant progress in recent years in the treatment of cancer, and that progress is expected to continue. A new report released this month found that there are more than 240 new immuno-oncology treatments in development – treatments designed to enable the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer.
The report, “Medicines In Development: Immuno-Oncology,” takes a closer look at a handful of classes of immune-oncology medicines, including adoptive cell therapies (including CAR-T therapy), bi-specific antibodies, cytokines, immune checkpoint modulators, oncolytic virus therapies and vaccines. These new treatments will serve previously unmet medical needs and provide new hope for the future.
While Americans of all ages are at risk of being diagnosed with cancer, it is more prevalent in older Americans. In fact, patients age 50 and older make up 87 percent of cancer diagnoses in the United States, making finding new, innovative cancer treatments even more critical for seniors.
For seniors diagnosed with cancer, Medicare Part B provides the coverage they need for their physician-administered cancer medicines. Short-sighted changes to Part B, such as those proposed by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), could restrict patients’ ability to access innovative cancer treatments and deter investment in the next generation of cancer medicines. MedPAC’s proposed changes would impede the competitive market through government price setting, including a restrictive binding arbitration process to set prices for new drugs.
As America’s biopharmaceutical companies continue to push forward in the research and development of new cancer medicines, it is important to protect beneficiaries’ access to Part B medicines and preserve incentives for innovation in complex disease areas, like cancer.
Nicole Longo Nicole is senior manager of public affairs at PhRMA. She previously worked for a D.C.-based public affairs firm where she assisted a wide range of clients with communications efforts on everything from trade policy to agriculture policy to health care policy. Outside the office, Nicole can be found trying new restaurants (usually Italian), taking an occasional barre class and cheering on the Cincinnati Bengals.