Today, cancer is one of the most serious diseases that put under a threat the health and life of patients. If diagnosed at the late stage of its development, cancer can lead to the death of the patient. In response to the threat imposed on patients by cancer, many pharmaceutical companies attempt to develop and introduce new medicaments that can help health care professionals to treat cancer successfully. However, in spite of the tremendous progress in this field, cancer still remains the disease threatening to the life of patients and this disease still cannot always be cured with the help of medicaments. Hence, the introduction of new medicaments can be very helpful for patients, who have almost lost their hopes in face of cancer because new medicaments are normally more effective than existing ones, while, hypothetically, a new medicament can be an effective cure for patients with cancer.
At first glance, cancer is a health care issue. However, the in-depth analysis of the disease reveals the fact that cancer raises a number of economic issues, especially when the development and introduction of a new drug comes into play. On the one hand, costs of health care services for patients with cancer are extremely high and they cannot afford them without health insurance. Patients have to change their lifestyle and to spend a lot of money on their treatment.
On the other hand, companies operating in the pharmaceutical industry spend millions and billions on cancer research to develop and introduce medicaments that could be efficient in the treatment of patients with cancer. As a result, new medicaments appear almost on the annual basis (See Image 1). However, the costs of the introduction of a new drug often reach hundreds of millions. As a result, the price of medicaments is high, while the high price of medicaments increases the costs of health care services and treatment of patients with cancer.
Furthermore, patients with cancer have special needs. For instance, their treatment cannot be delayed. Patients who undergo chemotherapy and other methods of treatment applied in cases of different types of cancer (See Image 2) need a special diet and they are often limited in physical activities as their bodies are exhausted and need a long-lasting rehabilitation after the treatment. In such a way, patients with cancer have to change completely their traditional life style and they have to learn to live with their problem and to struggle against cancer permanently.
The process involved in the program of the development and introduction of a new drug for the treatment of cancer is very complicated. First, a company operating in the pharmaceutical industry has to invest substantial funds into the research and development, to conduct numerous studies and to finally find out the new drug that can be further tested and eventually introduced in the market. When the drug is developed, the company starts testing the drug. At first, the company’s researchers study the properties of ingredients and properties of the new drug. After that, testing of the new drug is needed. As a rule, the testing involves the use of animals to test the impact of the drug on the living being. As the properties and effects of the new drug are fully tested on animals, the new drug moves further on its marketing ladder. The next stage includes further testing which involves volunteers, who suffer from cancer. Volunteers take the new drug under the supervision of heath care professionals and only if they sign informed consent. In the course of the treatment, which involves the new drug, all changes and effects of the new drug are carefully recorded and compared to the result of a control group, which receives the conventional treatment without the use of the new drug. If the new drug proves to be save and brings positive effects to patients with cancer involved in testing, the new drug may obtained the FDA license and the manufacturer of the new drug obtains the permission to launch the manufacturing of the new drug. After that the new drug eventually reaches the target customer group ”“ patients with cancer,
Benefits of the program are obvious, since the introduction of the new drug can bring positive effects to the health of patients involved in the experiment, while the use of the drug after its introduction in the market can facilitate the treatment of patients with cancer and increase its effectiveness. In addition, the new drug may be effective enough to avoid chemotherapy, for instance, which has numerous side-effects. Therefore, the introduction of the new drug is beneficial for patients because it contributes to the overall progress of the pharmaceutical industry in terms of the struggle against cancer.
Thus, the development and introduction of the new drug for the treatment of patients with cancer raises health, economic and social issues since the treatment of cancer is not always effective but it is expensive and leads to considerable changes of the lifestyle of people.