Looking at the calendar, 2020 is nearing the halfway point. While many may not be sad to see this year go, one thing we like to do here at Apex in the pharmacy benefits team is pause and review new FDA drug and therapeutic approvals for the year.

Thus far in 2020, the FDA has approved 22 “novel” drugs, which are ground breaking, novel or first time therapies. The top therapeutic area of new approvals is in cancer.

While this is exciting for new treatment options in oncology, we also looked at the prices of these novel therapies. The numbers are shocking, and could be a huge blow to any self-funded healthcare plan for employers with just one cancer diagnosis among members.

Our pricing analysis of these new therapies only looked at publicly-facing internet sources available through a Google search. We did not utilize any proprietary drug pricing sources to prepare this analysis. Below are the new cancer therapies and their monthly, and in some cases, total course of therapy costs as reported in the online mainstream media:

Some of these therapies are not yet commercially available, and many will not be considered for drug formularies immediately. Also, some of these forms of cancer are extremely rare.

Key Takeaways:

  • We anticipate 40-45 new drug approvals this year with over half being high-cost specialty medications.
  • Approvals through June 2020 are not disappointing as we’re on pace for the number of approvals and most of the drugs are very high cost – averaging five-figures per month in costs.

If you are concerned about the rising cost of health benefits driven by drug costs like we are at Apex Benefits, please contact us to learn how you can reduce your costs by up to 50 percent per year.

Other articles on how to save money on prescription drugs from Apex: Secrets to Reducing Medication Costs

Pharmacy Benefit Practice Leader

Erin is a clinical pharmacist and pharmacy educator. She also is an attorney, writer, preceptor, podcaster, and STEM advocate who helps break down the complexities of healthcare. Before joining Apex in 2020, her career spanned across healthcare, pharmacy and law – inside a wide variety of settings for over two decades, including teaching at Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences for over a decade.