Cancer care is one of the most significant healthcare costs in the USA. The National Institute of Health (NIH) estimates healthcare spending at US$171.6 billion (2002), with lung cancer estimated as the diagnosis with the second highest cost. As additional lines of therapy and newer targeted agents are incorporated into the treatment of lung cancer, these costs will further increase. Gefitinib, an EGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, is well established in Asia for the treatment of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. Although not widely available in the West, encouraging data have recently been reported from a large, global Phase III study of gefitinib in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. This paper reviews the data supporting the use of gefitinib in the treatment of advanced non-small-cell-lung cancer and considers its potential economic impact, as well as quality-of-life outcomes, compared with cytotoxic chemotherapy.