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Cancer Drug Costs Vary Greatly Around The World

Cost Of Drugs

While prescription drug prices continue to rise, new research examines the differences in what high-income countries pay for their cancer treatments.

Image via Pixabay

While the United States pays the most for prescription cancer drugs, new research conducted by a trio of PhDs has shown the cost of such medications to vary greatly across Europe, New Zealand and Australia.

When comparing the cost of new cancer drugs in 16 different high-income European countries, Australia and New Zealand, the group of researchers found a difference ranging from as little as 28 percent to as much as 388 percent. Between these countries, the researchers found that countries in the UK and Mediterranean were amongst the lowest payers on average, whereas the highest payers consisted of Switzerland, Germany and Sweden.

The cost of such cancer medicine in Spain, Greece and Portugal was low in comparison to the other analyzed, according to the study’s findings, which were published in the journal The Lancet Oncology.

Dr. Sabine Vogler from the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Center for Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Policies in Austria, the study’s lead author, was quoted by Science Daily as having said that the German public is paying more than 220 percent “more in terms of official prices for interferon alfa 2b melanoma and leukemia treatment than those in Greece” and when it comes to gefitinib, which is used to treat non-small-lung cancer, Germans are paying 172 percent more than people in New Zealand.

Public payers in Germany are paying 223% more in terms of official prices for interferon alfa 2b for melanoma and leukemia treatment than those in Greece (…) For gefitinib to treat non-small-lung cancer, the price in Germany is 172% higher than in New Zealand.

The study marks the first cross-country comparison of cancer drug costs in high-income countries.

In other news, the ACP recently recommended an increase in the use of generics – more prescriptions by doctors and more use by patients.

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