Saturday, December 20, 2014

After all this Kadylca doesn't work

Last spring I blogged about the price of Kadylca, a new drug from Roche to treat breast cancer. The UK's NHS decided not to approve it because of the cost, a paltry $150,000 per patient.

Now there is a new trial done by Roche that was the bearer of bad news.

"Roche's late-stage study in women with previously untreated advanced HER2-positive breast cancer showed three of its approved treatments -- Herceptin, Perjeta and Kadcyla -- helped patients live longer without their disease worsening.
But the two treatment arms containing Kadcyla did not prove superior, undermining expectations that Kadcyla could become the new standard of care for treating many women."

So Roche has a big problem. They spent millions on a drug that doesn't work. Now their shares are down significantly as a result. They also found out a new Alzheimer's drug doesn't work either.

I have heard from people I know who took Kadylca that it worked for them so maybe it works for some people. 

I know I have blogged about the high cost of drugs, including this one. And this shows a prime reason for them. How much money over how many years did Roche spend to develop Kadylka? And it must have had some good results in early trials to keep the development going. And now their shares took a hit which devalues the company as well.

So now they have to start over with something new. Which will probably cost even more. 

I am not saying this justifies the high cost of new drugs as I think the pharma industry is rife with expenses which could be cut - salaries, packaging, marketing. I think if they reorganized their pay structure and took a look at some real cost cutting measures, I might be less negative.

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