J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2023 Sep 11:1-12. doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2023.23045. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Research conducted in 2017 by Runyan et al concerning the current and future management of oncology drugs in the United States formed the basis for this research. The authors concluded that despite the high cost of oncology drugs, US payers relied on traditional management tools to manage the category, although these tools were ineffective at controlling costs. Innovative tools were not common in 2017. OBJECTIVE: To compare findings from the 2017 research with findings from a 2022 payer survey to understand how payer management of oncology drugs changed over 5 years. The study evaluates changing trends in oncology drug management. METHODS: The survey that informed the publication by Runyan et al in 2017 was reviewed, updated, and completed by 21 pharmacy and medical directors across 18 organizations representing 121.9 million covered lives. Both surveys included questions about management tools being employed in oncology and challenges to managing oncology. They used case studies in non-small cell lung cancer and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. These disease areas were chosen again in 2022 because they were included in the 2017 survey and because of the increase in competition in both categories from 2017 to 2022. The payer sample was designed to match the 2017 sample. The research was fielded from March to May 2022. The results were analyzed in Microsoft Excel; basic statistical analysis was conducted. Payers’ responses for each question were weighted by the number of reported covered lives at their organization so that the organization’s site was represented. RESULTS: On average, payers rated the management priority of oncology as a 5.3 and the budget impact as a 6.3 on a scale of 1 to 7, where 1 was low and 7 was high. Traditional tools remain dominant in this therapeutic area. However, there has been an increase in use of innovative tools. Pathways of care are trending upward since the initial survey in 2017. The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) also influences payers’ decision-making in oncology more than it did 5 years ago. Despite these shifts, most payers allow for unrestricted access of targeted therapies in non-small cell lung cancer and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, in line with each drug’s US Food and Drug Administration-approved label. CONCLUSIONS: The increased use of pathways of care, shifting financial risk to providers, and the influence of ICER should continue to be monitored. Future research should focus on the role of pathways of care, comprehensive, evidence-based treatment protocols, in influencing prescribing decisions of hematologists and oncologists. DISCLOSURES: The authors work for Envision Pharma Group (formerly Two Labs), a company that provides consulting services to the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. As such, clients in these industries pay Envision Pharma Group for their services. This study was funded independently by Envision Pharma Group.