Access to and Cost of Cancer Drugs in a Changing Healthcare Landscape


Innovations in cancer therapy, particularly the development of targeted drugs, hold remarkable potential to transform treatment of the disease. A productive oncology-drug pipeline is turning scientific breakthroughs into treatments for many patients who, until recently, had few options. But this innovation comes at a tremendous cost, and accessing needed drugs is increasingly difficult for many patients. As use of targeted cancer drugs and combination therapy continues to grow, so will concerns about access for patients and for the healthcare system overall. The White House, Congress, Federal agencies, presidential candidates, cancer organizations, and advocates are all calling for solutions that strike a balance between supporting innovation in drug development and the potential financial impact drug therapy has on patients and their families.

In this first workshop in a series, the President’s Cancer Panel will convene leaders and stakeholders across multiple sectors to examine access, cost, innovation, and value in cancer drug therapy. Participants will also identify priority topics of focus for discussion in subsequent workshops. Questions for exploration include the following:

  • What are the main barriers preventing cancer patients from accessing needed drugs, and which patients have difficulties accessing drug treatment?

  • How should the value of a drug be determined?

  • How could oncologists and patients be supported in making value-based treatment decisions?

  • What are the drivers of price increases and shortages among generic cancer drugs?

  • Could actions be taken to make drug approval processes more efficient, patient-centric, and less costly?

  • This workshop will be co-chaired by Gary Gilliland, MD, PhD, President and Director, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Gilliland is a national leader in cancer genetics, precision medicine, and drug development. Presentations and moderated discussions among participants will inform the Panel's recommendations in a formal report to the President of the United States after the conclusion of series workshops.

Join us on Twitter by following @PresCancerPanel and by live-tweeting during the workshop using #CancerRxValue.

Meetings of the President’s Cancer Panel are open to the public.