After outcry, drug makers decide not to triple the price of a cancer pill – the boston globe g gas lol

####

‘‘We have received feedback regarding the availability of Imbruvica capsules, and as a result will continue to offer 140 milligram Imbruvica capsules as an option in addition to our one pill, once-a-day tablet,’’ Pharmacyclics, which is owned by the drug giant AbbVie, said in a statement.

Physicians, who say they frequently adjust the dose of Imbruvica to avoid interactions with other drugs or side effects, had been concerned the dosing change could delay their ability to rapidly change patients’ dosages as needed. While the once-a-day tablet was described as an innovation to increase patients’ adherence to the drug for those challenged by having to take three pills at a time, physicians said the price of a drug was more often a deterrent.

Doctors also saw the dosing and pricing changes as a way to guard against emerging evidence, in a small pilot study conducted by researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center, that lower doses of the drug could be effective in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The Value in Cancer Care Consortium, a nonprofit focused on lowering the cost of cancer treatment, had been planning a clinical trial to more rigorously test lower doses.

‘‘If they’re really preserving the status quo, that’s fantastic,’’ said Mark Ratain, an oncologist at University of Chicago Medicine who wrote about the issue in the Cancer Letter, a publication read by oncologists. ‘‘I appreciate the fact the company is receptive to concerns about not only pricing, but [also] the safety and efficacy.’’

‘‘We have received feedback regarding the availability of Imbruvica capsules, and as a result will continue to offer 140 milligram Imbruvica capsules as an option in addition to our one pill, once-a-day tablet,’’ Pharmacyclics, which is owned by the drug giant AbbVie, said in a statement.

Physicians, who say they frequently adjust the dose of Imbruvica to avoid interactions with other drugs or side effects, had been concerned the dosing change could delay their ability to rapidly change patients’ dosages as needed. While the once-a-day tablet was described as an innovation to increase patients’ adherence to the drug for those challenged by having to take three pills at a time, physicians said the price of a drug was more often a deterrent.

Doctors also saw the dosing and pricing changes as a way to guard against emerging evidence, in a small pilot study conducted by researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center, that lower doses of the drug could be effective in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The Value in Cancer Care Consortium, a nonprofit focused on lowering the cost of cancer treatment, had been planning a clinical trial to more rigorously test lower doses.

‘‘If they’re really preserving the status quo, that’s fantastic,’’ said Mark Ratain, an oncologist at University of Chicago Medicine who wrote about the issue in the Cancer Letter, a publication read by oncologists. ‘‘I appreciate the fact the company is receptive to concerns about not only pricing, but [also] the safety and efficacy.’’