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Cancer Leagues present their vision for Europe’s Pharmaceutical Strategy - Timely patient access to affordable medicines


24 Aug 2020


Health & Consumers

In recent years, prices of cancer medicines have become subject to an increasing concern among health policy-makers and payers in Europe and beyond. The growing health needs of aging populations combined with growing prices of medicines and an increase in the societal cost of providing care cause budgetary and affordability constraints for most health systems. However, these concerns arising from the experienced growth of the healthcare expenditure on cancer medicines cannot be justified by the rising incidence of cancer alone.

All patients have the right to effective and optimal treatment, regardless of their financial means, gender, age or nationality. Nevertheless, at the current rate of healthcare spending, societies may have to make difficult prioritising decisions to provide access to health care for all citizens. This situation, further amplified by the COVID-19 crisis, calls for strategies to obtain economically sustainable health care and healthcare systems. Therefore, the EU ‘Pharmaceutical Strategy - Timely patient access to affordable medicines’ provides the perfect opportunity to address the shortcomings in the current functioning of the pharmaceutical market, from R&D to patient access, and ensure access to essential medicines and new therapies that are clinically superior as well as cost-effective.

The Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL) welcomes the initiative of building a patient-centred Pharmaceutical Strategy with a strong emphasis on addressing unmet need, achieving greater medicines access, availability, affordability as well as building sustainable healthcare systems. In particular, ‘’the ECL Access to Medicines Task Force has become a prominent voice in the access to treatment and drug pricing European debate. We should not underestimate the power of 29 cancer leagues sending the same message to their national governments, European policy-makers, the pharmaceutical industry and other stakeholders: we are deeply worried about the high price of cancer treatments we expect concerted action to keep these accessible for every citizen. To this end, in our latest position paper, cancer leagues set out key priorities for the EU Pharma Strategy and suggest ways forward for European and national decision-makers on how to best use legislative and non-legislative tools in order to enable patient access to safe and effective medicines throughout the EU”  said Ward Rommel, Chair of the ECL Access to Medicines Task Force.



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About ECL A2M TF

Established in 2016, the ECL Access to Medicines Task Force aims to make safe and effective medicines available to all cancer patients in Europe, by insisting on accessibility, availability, affordability and increased transparency related to medicine prices, ultimately leading to sustainability of healthcare systems. The Task Force strongly believes in the power of constructive dialogue. We urge all stakeholders to push for accessibility to high quality treatments, improving both survival and the quality of life of cancer patients. ECL Task Force connects 30 national/regional cancer societies in 25 European counties, representing over 500 million Europeans.


Anna Prokupkova

Advocacy & Project Manager

Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL)