Dr. Schilsky is hopeful that converting the value framework into a user-friendly software tool will help patients more easily understand the relative value of their treatment options.

ASCO sought input from oncologists, patient advocates, pharmaceutical and insurance industries, and others while creating the value framework. As the framework evolves, ASCO is continuing to accept comments on its potential utility, which may be submitted through August 21, 2015, at www.asco.org/value.

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The rising cost of cancer drugs is a trend that Leonard B. Saltz, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York, NY, called “unsustainable” at the 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting. “Cancer-drug prices are not related to the value of the drug,” he said, adding that “prices are based on what has come before and what the seller believes the market will bear.”

RELATED: The Unsustainable Costs of Cancer Care: Guidelines to Alleviate the Burden of Cost for Patients

MSKCC recently launched an online interactive “drug abacus” tool to help physicians calculate the years of life gained.2

In an analysis of cancer drug prices published in Cancer online on June 23, 2015, Hagop Kantarjian, MD, and colleagues from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, concluded that most existing treatments for hematologic malignancies are currently priced too high to be considered cost-effective. They proposed that regulating costs of new treatments, similar to what is done in Europe, will make United States health care more affordable and, in the end, more valuable.3


  1. Schnipper LE, Davidson NE, Wollins DS, et al. American Society of Clinical Oncology statement: a conceptual framework to assess the value of cancer treatment options. J Clin Oncol. June 22, 2015. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1200/JCO.2015.61.6706.
  2. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Welcome to DrugAbacus, an interactive exploration of drug pricing. http://www.drugabacus.org/. Accessed July 2, 2015.
  3. Chhatwal J, Mathisen M, Kantarjian H. Are high prices for hematologic malignancies justified? A critical analysis. Cancer. June 23, 2015. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1002/cncr.29512.