New research shows that cancer drugs cost less in the UK than other parts of the world. The research, published in December revealed the pricing difference of the cancer drugs between 18 countries with high-income. The difference between prices range from 25% to 400% among European countries, New Zealand and Australia.
The study was led by Sabine Vogler, PhD, of the WHO Collaborating Centre from Vienna, Austria. After the selection of countries, 31 cancer drugs were chosen for oncology purposes.
The data for all European countries was issued by the Pharma Price Information service from the Austrian Public Health Institute. The price data for Australia and New Zealand was provided by their pharmaceutical counterparts.
The results showed that the average unit did not have a price lower than €10. Prices ranged from €250 -€500, €500 – €1000, to more than €1000. The most expensive drugs, Mozobil, Genzyme on the market used for lymphoma and multiple myeloma costs on average €5824.25.
The difference in pricing between the highest and lowest priced countries was from 28% to 50% for 10 drugs, from 50% to 100% for 16 drugs and from 100% to 200% for the rest.
However, the highest price difference was registered at 388% for gemcitabine (Australia paid the lowest price, while New Zealand paid the highest) and for interferon alfa-2b at 223% difference between Germany and Greece.
The big picture here is that UK and other countries like Portugal, Greece or Spain paid the smallest price while countries like Switzerland or Germany paid the highest sums for the same drugs.
Researchers also noted that they could not compare the actual prices as some of the countries benefit from confidential discounts, common in UK, Australia and the Netherlands. They used the list prices instead.
Dr. Vogler told the press that she hopes her findings will help policymakers to address the high pricing issues of the new drugs and make sure that prices don’t stand in the way of patient’s treatment.
Also from The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Dr. van Harten said after a survey that there is room for reduction of the prices and that timely access to those drugs are crucial for cancer patients.
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