Cancer in the news: Three stories you can’t miss

July 9, 2018

A pharma maker is under fire for raising prices on its cancer drugs. Meanwhile, there were two major cancer drug approvals in June. Here are the top 3 cancer news articles in the past month.

A pharma maker is under fire for raising prices on its cancer drugs. Meanwhile, there were two major cancer drug approvals in June. Here are the top 3 cancer news articles in the past month.

  • The manufacturer of 2 cancer drugs hiked the price on the medicines, despite President Donald Trump’s new plan to lower drug prices.

Bayer increased the list prices of regorafenib (Stivarga) and sorafenib (Nexavar) by more than $1,000 per month, the drugs’ second price hike in 6 months. Now, Stivarga is around $16,860 per month, while Nexavar costs $18,670 per month, the Washington Post reported. Both drugs are 13% higher than they were in 2017.

Related: Cancer drug prices rise despite Trump plan

“We believe drug pricing remains a risk for the pharmaceutical industry,” added Wells Fargo analyst David Maris in a research note. “The President has highlighted lowering the cost of healthcare as a key objective, and we do not expect the negative commentary around the cost of medicines will soon subside.”

  2.  A combination melanoma treatment approved by FDA is now available through select specialty pharmacies.

Braftovi capsules in combination with Mektovi tablets (Array BioPharma) was approved for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma with a BRAFV600E or BRAFV600K mutation, as detected by an FDA-approved test.

Related: New targeted melanoma combo drug available

The combination treatment is the first targeted treatment to demonstrate over 30 months median overall survival in a phase 3 trial,  said Ron Squarer, CEO of Array BioPharma, in a statement from the company.
Braftovi + Mektovi will “help fill a critical unmet need for patients with advanced BRAF-mutant melanoma, a serious and deadly type of skin cancer,” Squarer said.

   3.  The manufacturer of bevacizumab (Avastin), snagged FDA approval for yet another type of cancer.

Genentech’s Avastin, in combination with chemotherapy (carboplatin and paclitaxel), followed by Avastin as a single agent, is approved for the treatment of women with advanced (stage 3 or 4) ovarian cancer following initial surgical resection.

Avastin is now approved in the United States for 10 distinct uses across 6 different types of cancer. This indication represents Avastin’s fourth gynecologic oncology indication in 4 years, including advanced cervical cancer and 2 different forms of ovarian cancer.

“This approval represents an important milestone as the first medicine, other than chemotherapy, for women with advanced ovarian cancer after their initial surgery,” said Melissa Aucoin, CEO of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC), in a Genentech statement. “Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in the United States, and this approval underscores Genentech’s dedication to bringing new treatment options to women with gynecological cancers.”

Read more: Avastin gains approval for another cancer type