Half of new cancer drugs not showing survival gains

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Half of new cancer drugs not showing survival gains

At a minimum of 3.3 years after market entry, the study published by them in British Medical Journal (BMJ) reveals, there was still no conclusive evidence that 33 of these 39 cancer drugs either extended or improved quality of life. Of these, eight indications (12%) were approved on the basis of a single-arm study.

An analysis of five years' worth of new approved cancer drugs has cast considerable doubt on their effectiveness and ability to improve a patient's quality of life.

Given the toxicity and expense of cancer drugs, patients should be exposed only "when they can reasonably expect an improvement in survival or quality of life", said Prasad.

Of 23 indications whose survival benefit could be scored with the ESMO-MCBS tool, the benefit was judged to be clinically meaningful in less than half (48%).

"While the European Medicines Agency (EMA) decides which new drugs are safe to be sold in Europe, it's national bodies like Nice (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) that decide which drugs should be made available to patients".

"The fact that so numerous new drugs on the market lack good evidence that they improve patient outcomes puts governments in a hard position when it comes to deciding which treatments to fund", she writes.

"When there were survival gains over existing treatment options or placebo, they were often marginal".

"The fact that so numerous new drugs on the market lack good evidence that they improve patient outcomes puts governments in a hard position when it comes to deciding which treatments to fund", she said.

He said most cancer drugs - which cost about $100,000 per year of treatment - are being approved based on "flimsy or untested" initial measures and declared that the regulatory system was "broken".

This situation has negative implications for patients and public health - they concluded.

When the cancer in United Kingdom was presented in numbers it was found that 10000 number of lives which could be saved with earlier diagnosis, 352197 number of people diagnosed with cancer each year (2013), 161823 are the annual deaths from cancer (2012), 50% chance of living at least 10 years after cancer diagnosis as of 2010-2011. "But regulatory sanctioning of a comparator that lacks robust evidence of efficacy, means the cycle of weak evidence and uncertainty continues".

"We were quite surprised about the high proportion of drugs entering the market without evidence", said Huseyin Naci, of the London School of Economics and Political Science, one of the study's authors.

But she said that even though many new drugs may only extend patients' lives a few weeks or months, such gains can be worthwhile. Companies often create a lot of hype around their proclaimed benefits.

The research "paint (s) a sobering picture", wrote Vinay Prasad, an assistant professor of medicine at the Oregon Health and Science University, in an accompanying editorial.

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