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Thursday, December 9, 2021

The US Drug Administration To Target Non-Performing Cancer Drugs

 The U.S. Food and drug Administration (FDA) us scheduled to held a meeting with the objective of revoking approval for Cancer Drugs that have been found ineffective in fighting Cancer. This is the first proactive step taken by the FDA in a decade and will take a serious look at Cancer drugs that neither improve nor extent patient life.

The US Drug Administration To Target Non-Performing Cancer Drugs

The FDA has held on 3 such meetings in the past ever since its inception. The focus on the proposed fourth meeting will be drugs identified as ineffective from Roche, Merck, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. The Associated Press reported that this historic meeting is prompted by an industry review of an unprecedented level of drug development.

The Associated Press also reported an FDA finding that though innovative approaches had been made to make medicines available to seriously ill cancer patients, many drugs have been found to have not lived up to their promises. This has resulted in expensive but untried drugs that have entered the market and the FDA has not been taking action on drugs that have not proved effective in treating this deadly disease. 

The Associated Press spoke to Doctor Ezekiel Emmanuel who is a Cancer specialist  and Ethicist at the University of Pennsylvania. Doctor Emmanuel observed that patients are taking the drugs and doctors are prescribing them  without knowing whether these drugs are doing anything. Doctor Emmanuel concluded that such endless uncertainty cannot go on.

The Associated Press further reported that the United States, spending the highest on prescription drugs than any other country in the world, has had its expenditure doubled from 2013 to touch US 60 Billion Dollars in recent times. The IQVIA (Formerly I-Q-Vintas) added to this data given to the Associated Press by reporting that many new drugs cost from US 90,000 to 300,000 Dollars a year.  An IQVIA study revealed that costs of such drugs have risen faster than patient survival. 

The Associated Press revealed that the FDA has been prohibited from considering costs though it is supposed to monitor drug effectiveness and keep ineffective drugs off the market.

The American Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a national Program of Cancer Registries and coordinates the collection and verification of all cancer cases within the United States. Data on Cancer cases are also collected from the SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results) Program. 

Cancer is a major public health disease and results in the second-highest number of deaths in the United States. In 2021, the SEER program along with the CDC estimate 607, 800 deaths from the 1.9 million detected and diagnosed cases. 

Detailed analysis statistics reveal that the survival rate of cancer patients was 67% overall (68% for white Americans and 63% for black Americans) from 2010 up to 2016. Survival rates were found to be the highest for Prostrate Cancer Cases (98%) followed by Melanoma of the skin (93%) and female Breast Cancer (90%). 

On the flip side, the lowest survival rates were found to be for cancers of the pancreas (10%), liver (20%), oesophagus (20%) and lung (21%). 

Recovery from Cancer has improved since the mid 1970s, for all the types of cancers except uterine Cervix and Uterine Corpus. This reflects the absence of major treatment advances for these types of Cancers. There are also several types of cancers that have recorded increasing survival rates over the years. A leading example is Chronic Myeloid cancer whose survival rate increased from 22% in the 1970s to 72% during the period 2010-2016. It was discovered that treatment with Tyrosine Inhibitors resulted in recovery.  

These statistics researched by the Associated Press endorse the need for more effective drugs and improvement in treatment.

The forthcoming meeting by FDA followed by action to revoke permission of nonperforming drugs will reflect the result in fewer cases of cancer and an increase in survival rates in the coming years. 

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