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Millions could be Saved by Reevaluating the Delivery of Cancer Immunotherapy Medications



According to a recent analysis, changing the way cancer immunotherapy medications are administered could result in annual savings of up to millions of dollars for the Veterans Health Administration’s cancer immunotherapy programmes.

This idea might be utilised by all cancer centers countrywide. In order to lessen drug waste, immune checkpoint inhibitors were initially evaluated and authorised using weight-based dosages before switching to one-size-fits-all flat doses. However, researchers at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Centre discovered that if vials created for a single patient are used by multiple patients, then doctors can administer customised doses while also cutting waste and expenses.

In order to create a simulation of how the medications could be better managed, researchers focused on data from the Veterans Health Administration, identifying records of patients who received at least one dose of any type of immune checkpoint inhibitor from a Veterans Affairs medical centre in 2021. This included administering doses depending on weight and dividing single-use vials among several patients rather than discarding any extras.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors are an annual purchase for the VHA of hundreds of millions of dollars. The researchers discovered that combining weight-based dosing and single-use vial sharing will lower immune checkpoint cost by 14% within each VA hospital’s pharmacy. Health Affairs published the study.

“Evidence suggests that flat and weight-based dosing are equally effective in treating cancer. In an era of ever-rising drug prices and aging populations, adopting stewardship measures could markedly improve the cost-effectiveness of cancer care in our country,” said lead study author Alex Bryant, M.D., MAS, a radiation oncology resident at Michigan Medicine.


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