High price of cancer medicines make treatment unaffordable globally

Generics/Research | Posted 29/10/2021 post-comment0 Post your comment

Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. Currently, there are increasing concerns about the price of cancer medicines and how this can limit patient access to lifesaving treatments. Now, a new study published in Applied Health Economics and Health Policy [1] calls for strengthened pricing policies that can ensure affordable cancer treatment for all.

Cancer image015

In their investigation, Daniela Moye-Holz of the University of Groningen, and Dr Sabine Vogler of the World Health Organization (WHO), focussed their study on the prices of originator cancer medicines in countries in Europe and Latin America. They then assessed the affordability of these medicines by setting their prices in relation to national minimum wages.

The researchers found that, in European countries with higher levels of income (these comprised of Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK), the prices of cancer medicines were relatively lower than in European countries of lower income (which were comprised of Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Spain) and the Latin American countries (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru) in the study.

With the exception of one medicine, all surveyed medicines were considered unaffordable in the majority of countries. The study also found that, in the lower income European countries and Latin American countries, for several of the medicines under investigation, more than 15 days’ worth of minimum wages are needed for a worker to afford to purchase one defined daily dose.

The authors conclude that these high levels of unaffordability in countries across the world are a major barrier to access for cancer treatment. They urge policymakers to implement policies that will make medicines more affordable and accessible. As access to affordable treatment options is a global challenge, countries need to collaborate to achieve fair and sustainable pricing.

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Reference
1. Moye‑Holz D, S Vogler. Comparison of prices and affordability of cancer medicines in 16 countries in Europe and Latin America. Appl Health Econ Health Policy. 2021 Jul 6. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40258-021-00670-4

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