October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month which serves as support to those currently powering through the detrimental illness, and remembrance to family and friends sadly lost to the disease. Although there is currently no known cure for the affliction, scientists have worked restlessly to unearth enhanced methods for combating the sickness. As a result, a new medication was released that doubles the remission period of those with the condition.
The FDA recently approved Eli Lilly and Company’s Verzenio, a pill that has shown significant progress in breast cancer regimen compared to other drugs in its class. Verzenio targets the two most common types of the disease, hormone receptor (HR)-positive and HER2-negative, and nearly doubles the progression-free expectancy of sufferers. The director of the FDA’s Oncology Center, Richard Pazdur, explains the importance of the pill:
“Verzenio provides a new targeted treatment option for certain patients with breast cancer who are not responding to treatment, and unlike other drugs in the class, it can be given as a stand-alone treatment to patients who were previously treated with endocrine therapy and chemotherapy.”
According to a study published in the scientific journal database BioMed Central, breast cancer accounts for 23% of malignancies, and is also the most common form of the malady in the U.S., leading to 40,610 deaths per year. Among those with the disease, about 72% have HR-positive or HER2-negative tumors. As noted by the Mayo Clinic, HR-positive growths are receptive to hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. HER2-negative neoplasms develop in response to the abnormal production of particular proteins that promote malignant cells.
What About The Cost?
The progression-free expectancy of those with these complications is typically nine months, but clinical trials have shown Verzenio to double this time. One in five participants also experienced significant tumor shrinkage from the substance.
Although the substance is proving auspicious effects, many patients will likely be unable to afford the life-extending pharmaceutical. Lilly and Company have the listed cost of the medication at $10,948 per month. It is thus unclear whether the effects of the product will provide the same expected societal benefits once it hits the market compared to its clinical trial period.
According to a previous article by Liberty Nation, the expense of innovative drugs has forced twenty-five percent of cancer patients to decide against refilling their prescriptions, and twenty percent consuming less than the advised dosage. The company did announce, however, that the commercially insured under a savings card program will receive the first three months of dosage for free, followed by a charge of $10 per period for up to one year.
Verzenio is a grand surprise for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as it permits sufferers and their loved ones increased time together and tumor reduction. One obstacle to experiencing the full effects of the medication, however, is the price, which may lead to many being unable to afford the life-extending drug. Liberty Nation will be monitoring the progress resulting from the pill as it reaches the market in late October.