May 2017

Merck’s checkpoint inhibitor beats out its rivals, Opdivo and Tecentriq, as a first-line therapy for lung cancer. But testing for PD-L1 is tricky.
One reason is that they figure that CMS will foot the bill because many of their beneficiaries age into Medicare. Also, for every insurer: churn, churn, churn.
The debate on screening continues. Critics say it has been oversold and most tests have yet to show lifesaving benefit. Others are skeptical of the skeptics.
How it will fit into the universe of cancer drug development and regulation are just many of the questions that come to the fore.


Legislation & Regulation
About $2 billion a year is earmarked for the pools in the AHCA legislation. Evidence suggests that more like $100 billion may be needed.
Value-Based Tools
No real trends in quality improvement or cost savings have emerged, while mortality outcomes have remained flat. With so little money at risk, the program simply may not turn enough heads.
The election upended a lot of expectations in health care. But the advantages of building integrated cancer care programs are still there.