The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Study reveals unequal access to new cancer drugs

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 24 November 2023

Patients in Europe have to wait varying lengths of time for new cancer drugs. According to a new study, it takes an average of 1.4 years for an approved cancer drug to become available in Swiss hospitals.

Study reveals unequal access to new cancer drugs
(Source: X.com)

This means that the drugs are available slightly faster after approval in Switzerland than on average (2.1 years) in the six European countries surveyed, according to the study published in the International Journal of Cancer. In hospitals in Italy and France, however, the drugs were available more quickly.

The study was conducted by the Netherlands Cancer Institute and the European Fair Pricing Network (EFPN), of which the Swiss Cancer League is also a member, as announced by the latter on Thursday. In the study, the researchers examined the time between approval and availability of six cancer drugs in Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Switzerland.

Longest waiting time in Hungary

Hungary (3.7 years) and Belgium (2.5 years) took the longest for the drugs to become available after approval.

The study also showed that in more than half of the cases, the first patient access took place within the framework of Early Access Programs (EAP) or off-label use of drugs, as the Cancer League emphasized. Switzerland also has such procedures. However, the Cancer League criticizes in the press release that the approval process in this country is long and non-transparent.

©Keystone/SDA

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