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Washington Post: Why Extremely Expensive Drugs Are Often Worth the Cost

October 7, 2014


Jason Millman highlights a new study published in Health Affairs showing specialty drugs often provide 'substantially much higher health benefits than the traditional drugs.'

"Our study suggests that although specialty drugs often have higher costs than traditional drugs, they also tend to confer greater benefits and hence may still offer reasonable value for money," wrote the researchers at the Boston-based Center for Value and Risk in Health.

The study authors judged the drugs' performance by a metric known as quality-adjusted life years (QALY), which measures the effects of new treatments on a patient's quality of life when compared to previously available care. Researchers analyzed scientific literature evaluating 58 specialty drugs and 44 traditional drugs approved by the FDA between 1999-2011.

On average, specialty drugs provided QALY gains compared to traditional drugs, meaning that new specialty drugs were comparatively far better at improving a patient's quality of life.

For the full story, visit this link.