Pricing of Cancer Medicines and Its Impacts. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2018
(2018; 171 pages)


This report examines pricing approaches adopted by the pharmaceutical industry and authorities responsible for the pricing of medicines, with a specific focus on medicines for the prevention and treatment of cancer. The report reviews pricing approaches applied throughout the “value chain” (i.e., activities required to bring medicines to patients, from R&D to service delivery), and at different time points of product life cycle from market launch to the entry of clinically substitutable medicines (that is, medicines with similar chemical structure and therapeutic effects, so-called “me too” medicines; and generic and biologically similar medicines).

This comprehensive technical report presents evidence relating to the impacts of pricing approaches (or lack thereof) on the price, availability and affordability of cancer medicines. It examines the possible relationship between pricing approaches and (a) R&D of cancer medicines, including incentives for investment in R&D on cancer and in innovation of these measures, as well as possible gaps in undertaking research and development (that is, a possible shortfall in funding or activities in certain areas of cancer research); (b) transparency in price and governance; and (c) benefits and unintended negative consequences that would deviate from the original policy intent. Options that might enhance the affordability and accessibility of cancer medicines are outlined in paragraphs 41 and 42.

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