MediMedia Survey on Cancer Treatment

Costs Cast Shadow on Optimism About Treatment

Peter Wehrwein

The future of cancer treatment looks bright to Managed Care readers. But it’s optimism with a catch because they are also concerned about the cost of treatment—and most are dubious that efforts to rein in costs will do much good.

In an online survey conducted from September 9 to September 20, almost half (48%) of the respondents said they were optimistic about significant progress expected for cancer treatments over the next five years.

Optimistic about significant progress in treatments over next 5 years

Scale = 1–7; 1 = Not at all optimistic, 7 = Extremely optimistic

A larger proportion (86%) indicated that they were very concerned about the increasing cost of treatment, and about half (47%) had little confidence that the cost of cancer treatment could be controlled. “There’s plenty of optimism out there about where cancer treatment is headed,” says Mark Spickler, an analyst for MediMedia Research, which conducted the survey. “But it’s optimism with strings attached because of concerns about costs.”

Confidence that the cost of cancer treatments can be controlled

Scale = 1–7; 1 = Not at all confident, 7 = Extremely confident

MediMedia Research is part of MediMedia Managed Markets, which owns Managed Care. MediMedia Managed Markets is an ICON plc company.

There were 104 respondents to the survey, about a third of whom were pharmacists.

Precision medicine that guides treatment was top pick of the respondents among the various strategies for controlling costs: 36% of the respondents gave it a high rating. Bundled payments had few fans, despite the fact that CMS is rolling out a program that applies bundled payments to oncology. Only 14% were confident that bundled payments could significantly slow down the cost of cancer treatment.

Confidence in particular approaches to controlling treatment costs

Scale = 1–7; 1 = Not at all confident, 7 = Extremely confident

Source for all charts: MediMedia Research

In September, an outside group of experts made 10 recommendations for research priorities for the Obama administration’s Cancer Moonshot. Respondents to the MediMedia survey rated implementation of evidence-based approaches to prevention and early detection as the most important of the 10.