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New Study on Cancer Underscores Need for More Innovative Funding Research and a Rethink in Regulation


02 Oct 2009


Health & Consumers

-Experts call for clear models for international public-private partnerships
-Holistic approach is needed
-Expanded role of research for governments through direct and indirect incentives

Europe is facing the challenge of an expected dramatic increase in the prevalence of cancer that could reach 15 million Europeans by 2020. Health systems will require the promotion of innovative funding and a rethink in regulation, according to a new study released today at the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG), the European Union’s leading health policy congress for experts and decision-makers.

Titled “The Role of Funding and Policies on Innovation in Cancer Drug Development,” the study identifies avenues to address the disease challenge including an expanded role of research for governments through direct and indirect incentives, as well as a re-think about regulation and pricing and reimbursement systems. While applauding the progress that has been made, the report suggests that EU and national policies to fight cancer must invest and act decisively to remove obstacles in order to meet this complex challenge. The study was funded by an unrestricted educational grant from Novartis.

“While Europe has considerably increased its funding since 2004, funding still appears fragmented, with duplication in some areas and insufficiencies in others,” said co-author Panos Kanavos, senior lecturer at London School of Economics. “Moreover, despite efforts at the national level to promote public-private partnerships in cancer research, we found that surprisingly little thought has been given to the nature of international public-private partnerships in cancer research, a method we believe could significantly improve research. There is a also a need for a holistic regulatory approach to foster innovation in the area of oncology.”

“In addition, to create a more conducive environment for drug development we'll require the right mix of incentives for innovation, an enhanced role for government with regard to incentives as well as a rethink of how regulation works and how systems of pricing and reimbursement operate,” stressed co-author Richard Sullivan, chair of the European Cancer Research Managers Foundation.

Participants also welcomed the recent launch of the European Partnership Action against Cancer and expressed their hope that it will contribute to the better coordination and facilitation of cancer research in EU as well as to exchange of information and best practices in the area of cancer prevention and treatment.

Andras Fehervary of Novartis Oncology acknowledged that significant progress in the fight against cancer had been achieved at EU level, pointing out inter alia that “this study confirms the critical role of industry in bringing innovative medical technologies that improve the quality and extend the lives of Europeans.” In addition, it highlights the complex interdependencies between academia, the public and private sectors in the research, discovery and commercialization processes. “This means we need to find ways to enhance and deepen our partnerships to advance the fight against cancer. What remains
is to find ways at the member state level to ensure these commitments are translated into improved access to care for patients.”

Press Contact:
EHFG Press Office
Thomas Brey
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