A Letter to Our Readers

Welcome to Value-Based Cancer Care. What sort of publication is this, why have we decided to create it, and what can you expect to see as you review this and future issues?

The title expresses it clearly and succinctly. This publication will focus relentlessly on matters of value in cancer through news reporting, feature writing, and commentary from clinicians, payers, and policymakers. Many publications already cover policy, pharmacoeconomics, and/or clinical medicine as part of their editorial focus, so how is Value-Based Cancer Care different?

Value is often defined by the equation value = quality / cost, and in this era of steadily increasing costs—of medications, new technologies, and health insurance premiums—a careful and consistent look at the benefits of new therapies and their costs is, we believe, helpful to all stakeholders.

With the cost of bringing a new medication to the market now past the $1-billion mark, it is not surprising that drug therapies cost more than ever before. And with many cancer medications being developed for particular subsets of patients, or being found efficacious only in smaller, genotypically similar groups, the day of the universally applicable cancer drug may well be over.

In addition, the results offered by some of these drugs, often measured in weeks or months of additional life, have led some to raise an issue previously unspeakable when it came to medical treatment—is it worth it?

That difficult question, and more general conversations involving access, costs, and outcomes are addressed in Value-Based Cancer Care by drawing together coverage of medicine, policy, economics, business practice, and regulatory matters. Comparative effectiveness research, which addresses value in a very basic way and will become more familiar as healthcare reform kicks in, are covered in this publication. And the real-world implications and application of these developments are considered in analytic, insightful perspectives provided by our Editorial Board.

That Editorial Board reflects the diversity of our readership, with members drawn from the spectrum of cancer care payers, purchasers, policymakers, and providers. Our panel of experts possesses a broad background in clinical medicine, benefit design, law, pharmacy, and practice management, allowing for the topical analysis from a number of perspectives that will be a cornerstone of the publication. We will continue to grow this board as the publication matures, but please look at the facing page to see our present roster of experts.

This first issue contains coverage from a number of recent meetings at which the economics of cancer care were addressed; clearly this is a topic on the minds of many right now. We envision Value-Based Cancer Care as a place where timely coverage and discussion of such important topics will occur regularly, and where all parties in today’s cancer care will find not just news but insight.

We hope this is the case for you, and we welcome your thoughts on this publication.

Value-Based Cancer Care,
ISSN 2153-4888 (print); ISSN 2153-4896 (online) is published 10 times per year by Engage Healthcare Communications, LLC, 1249 South River Road, Suite 202A, Cranbury, NJ 08512.