In September 2011, The Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 399 senior executives from the life sciences industry and payer organizations and revealed that 41% of the total respondents and 47% from drug companies (the highest figure in both cases) believe that oncology is one of the most difficult therapeutic areas in which to demonstrate value.

“There is a public perception that cancer is different, not necessarily from all other diseases, but from run-of-the-mill ones,” observes Patricia Danzon, professor of healthcare management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. “That makes it harder to say ‘no’ [to new treatments], which gets people into a discussion of how much clinical benefit new treatments need to demonstrate to justify reimbursement. This is a tough choice, because paying more for cancer care means less spending on other things.”

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