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The price of cancer. The political and economic sociology of therapeutic innovations

Contract: National Institute of Cancer (2018-2021) |CERMES3
Coordinator: Pierre-André Juven, CERMES3

Starting from the observation of the very high cost of medicines for fighting cancer and the important stakes for the sustainability of the health system, this research project aims to produce a sociological study of the controversies relative to the determination of prices of innovative medicines and their effects on the organisation of care. Sociological research on the regulation of drugs or on the history of medical-economic knowledge has been done but none has yet studied the present controversy concerning the medical-economic evaluation of new medicines against cancer, nor the role of that evaluation in fixing prices. Likewise, while ethnographic studies have shown the effects of new public management or modes of financing for health organisations, none has yet been carried out on the effects of drug prices within health facilities.

This project has a two-fold objective. First, we want to offer the most comprehensive analysis possible of procedures for the evaluation and pricing of innovative cancer medicines by studying competing types of evaluation. Second, we intend to study the effects of the prices of these drugs on medical thinking and practices, or even on the organisation of care. To reach these objectives, our study will assemble four types of material: semi-structured interviews, ethnographic observations, a study of reports and unpublished literature, and the use of a questionnaire.

Project members: Catherine Bourgain (Inserm, CERMES3), Maurice Cassier (CNRS, CERMES3), Catherine Le Galès (CNRS, CERMES3)

Collaborators: Brigitte Dormont (University of Paris-Dauphine), Lionel Perrier and Marc Billaud (Centre de lutte contre le Cancer Léon Bérard, Lyon), Stéphanie Bordenave and Jaafar Bennouna (CHU Nantes), François Goldwasser (Hôpital Cochin, Paris)

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