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A flick of the prescriber’s pen could save $825 million a year on lung cancer care in the U.S.

That’s the finding of a new study on the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab, marketed commercially as Keytruda by Merck. By switching to weight-based dosing — instead of a fixed dose of 200 mg — doctors could quickly reduce costs of the intravenous therapy without compromising its effectiveness, the study concludes.


The finding could spur changes in care for thousands of U.S. patients with lung cancer, which kills about 158,000 Americans a year. The study estimates that weight-based dosing would cut costs of the treatment from $3.4 billion to $2.6 billion. The findings were presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

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