- In June, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) published a drug scorecard in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. ASCO's drug scorecard is designed to simplify therapeutic decision-making by comparing survival data for different regimens with costs and side effects.
- Alimta (pemetrexed) fell short when tested in patients with squamous and non-squamous lung cancer.
- Lilly requested that ASCO re-analyze the data and focus on non-squamous cases, leading to a score of 16.
This is how it works: Overall, the scorecard takes into effect clinical benefits, side effects, quality of life, overall survival, progression free survival, costs, and other factors. Using an algorithm based on these metrics, the scorecard gave an Alimta-based cocktail (that included cisplatin) a score of zero for squamous and non-squamous NSCLC. However, upon reconsideration, Alimta received a new score of 16---based solely on its use in squamous NSCLC.
When ASCO published the scorecard in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in June, it invited feedback and interaction, so Lilly handled this situation well. ASCO is working on an addendum now to include updates and other companies are invited to request reassessment.
The overall point, however, is that cancer-treatment regimens are increasingly expensive, and a decision-making tool to evaluate value versus cost is long overdue and much needed.