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The Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL) launches first ever EU-wide collaborative network aiming to put an end to the escalating costs of cancer medicines


30 Nov 2020


Health & Consumers

Brussels, BelgiumECL, a pan-European umbrella NGO representing national and regional cancer societies, today officially announced and launched the first ever EU-wide collaborative network to improve transparency, market access and pricing of cancer medicines for the benefits of cancer patients.

Population aging and the rising number of cancer cases across Europe has led to a dramatic increase in health systems’ expenditure on cancer medicines. However, such an increase in expenditure on cancer therapies cannot be justified by the rising incidence of cancer alone. Lack of adequate access to both new and off-patent essential cancer medicines remains an issue - with high prices often cited as the main contributory factor. Overall prices of cancer medicines continue to rise, to the extent of impairing the capacity of health systems to provide affordable, population-wide access to cancer medicines.

In response to this, European cancer societies and cancer research institutes decided to join forces and found the European Fair Pricing Network (EFPN).   

Nicolas Philippou, member of ECL Executive Board and co-founder of the EFPN, said: “People across Europe rightly expect to benefit from adequate access to safe and effective treatments. Everywhere we turn, we hear stories, some heartbreaking, about the impact of the escalating costs of cancer medicines on cancer patients and their families. We are launching the EFPN initiative with patient advocates and researchers side by side to gather necessary data to enable evidence-based decision-making which ultimately results in access to best available treatments which health systems can afford.’’                                                                                                                                         

What makes the EFPN unique are its coordinated and interlinked research and patient advocacy efforts. EFPN aims to achieve fair prices for cancer medicines and works towards a sustainable pharmaceutical market which produces accessible, affordable and truly innovative medicines for patients. Hence, this initiative is in line with the priorities outlined in the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe and Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.

Dr. Ward Rommel, Chair of the Access to Medicines Task Force, Association of European Cancer Leagues said: “All members of our network share a deep conviction that increased transparency will contribute to better access to safe and effective medicines. We seek to collect and analyse high quality data, measuring (i) availability of selected treatments across Europe; (ii) their price differences; (iii) the extent of public investment in their development; and (iv) the relationship between the price and the drug’s efficacy. We aim to shed light on medicine pricing and translate our findings into concrete policy asks for national and European decision-makers.

Medicine prices issues are incredibly complex and there are no simple solutions. These issues are so urgent, so high-stakes, and so consistent with European policy priorities that can no longer be ignored. The establishment of EFPN is a major step towards ensuring fair pricing and prompt access to effective cancer medicines for all patients across Europe. By better linking research to policy-making, EFPN will be able to estimate the size of the problem and come up with possible pathways towards a fair and transparent market for much needed cancer treatments. 



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