Comparison of Access to Novel Drugs for Lymphoma and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Between India and the United States


JCO Glob Oncol. 2020 Jul;6:1124-1133. doi: 10.1200/GO.20.00012.


This review will compare and contrast the costs and access to novel drugs for treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and lymphoma in the United States and India during the last 5 years. Clinical outcomes for patients with hematologic malignancies have improved significantly since the approval of immunotherapeutic and targeted therapies. These new treatments have had an impact on overall outcomes and have helped determine the design for translational research and future trials. Although most

of these novel drugs called "innovators" are initially approved and marketed in the United States, several have also become available in countries such as India. With the expiration of patents, generic versions of innovator drugs have increased and accessibility has improved for patients. The advent of biosimilars is another route for expanding access to biologic compounds. As a result, the development costs for developing these drugs are lower, and consequently, the costs for the patient are often lower. Although the delivery of cancer care is not the same in India as it is in the United States, the introduction of biosimilars and generics has helped bridge the gap. This has made treatment of CLL and lymphoma similar in both countries and has had the same impact on patient outcomes and quality of life. Compulsory licensing for essential medications, as stipulated by the Doha Declaration, and capping of drug prices could improve global access to treatments for CLL and lymphoma.