Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel Does Not Address Pricing, Alternative Funding Models

On September 7, 2016, the National Cancer Advisory Board Blue Ribbon Panel issued a draft report with recommendations directed to the Cancer Moonshot Task Force.

The draft included 10 interesting and useful recommendations (see A – J) related to cancer research, but none to address the pricing or affordability of products.

  • A. Establish a network for direct patient involvement
  • B. Create a clinical trials network devoted exclusively to immunotherapy
  • C. Develop ways to overcome resistance to therapy
  • D. Build a national cancer data ecosystem
  • E. Intensify research on the major drivers of childhood cancers
  • F. Minimize cancer treatment’s debilitating side effects
  • G. Expand use of proven prevention and early detection strategies
  • H. Mine past patient data to predict future patient outcomes
  • I. Develop a 3D cancer atlas
  • J. Develop new cancer technologies

The Vice President’s Task Force, which was announced in President Obama’s 2016 State of the Union address, has consistently avoided dealing with issues related to drug prices. In a June 30, 2016 interview with Tom Brokaw, Vice President Joe Biden asserted that he did not understand why drug prices are high.

“What the hell happened, what happened?” Vice President Biden asked, citing the price increase of Gleevec over the course of its years on the market.

The report does mention seven “policy issues that were beyond the scope of the BRP but will need to be addressed for many of the recommendations to move forward,” including:

  • * Coverage and reimbursement
  • * Privacy and consent with regard to patient data
  • * Fragmentation of the delivery of patient care in the community
  • * The need to improve the clinical trials system
  • * Incentives to encourage pediatric drug development
  • * New federal research funding models
  • * Barriers to data sharing

Here are some keyword counts from the 72 page report:

  • affordable or afforability = 0
  • budget = 0
  • clinical trials = 47
  • consumer = 0
  • cost = 6
  • data = 118
  • delinkage = 0
  • funding = 12
  • incentive = 4
  • insurance = 0
  • monopoly = 0
  • open = 1
  • openness = 0
  • open source = 0
  • orphan = 0
  • patent = 0
  • price = 0
  • private sector = 6
  • share = 10
  • sharing = 24
  • subsidy = 0
  • tax credit = 0
  • taxpayer = 0
  • transparent = 0
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