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As a closely watched meeting of cancer researchers gets under way in Chicago on Friday — call it Woodstock for oncologists — a new analysis finds that more cancer therapies have been launched recently than ever before, an unprecedented amount of clinical development is underway, and the spending is rising at double-digit rates.

Specifically, last year saw a record 15 new oncology treatments launched for 17 tumor types, the pipeline of drugs in late-stage development expanded by 19% in 2018 alone and 63% since 2013, and the mean cost for the new medications last year exceeded $175,500. This was less than $209,400 in 2017, but above the nearly $143,600 mean from 2012 to 2018.


Meanwhile, the amount spent on cancer medicines reached nearly $150 billion in 2018, up nearly 13%. This marked the fifth consecutive year of double-digit growth. In the U.S., spending more than doubled since 2013 and reached almost $57 billion last year, with 64% of the growth attributed to drugs launched in the past five years.

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