Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s health ministry said Monday that the government-set price of cancer drug Opdivo will be reduced by over 20 percent from the current level in fiscal 2018, which starts next month.
According to an official gazette from the ministry, the price of the drug for lung cancer and other illnesses will decline by 23.8 percent, to about ¥278,000 per 100 milligrams from the current ¥365,000.
Opdivo was registered as a skin cancer medication when it joined the list of drugs covered by the country’s public health insurance system in 2014. At that time, its price stood at some ¥730,000.
Government-administered drug prices are reviewed as part of biennial revisions to the medical fees covered by the health insurance system. In fiscal 2018, the overall drug prices are set to fall 1.36 percent.
Opdivo is designed to activate the immune system to fight cancer cells. The number of Opdivo users has surged since the health insurance system began to cover the use of the drug to treat lung cancer.
In February 2017, the government halved the Opdivo price in an exceptional move, because it was expected to cost an annual ¥35 million per user, placing financial burdens on the health insurance system.Speech