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Comparison of patients' access to new and better cancer drugs reveals inequalities between countries

han the European average in the USA and three times higher in Germany. Uptake in Australia, the UK, Norway and Poland was low. For pemetrexed, France and the USA had a high uptake and Canada, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Poland and the UK had a low uptake.

Dr Wilking said: "Progress in medical treatments has meant that over half of the patients diagnosed with cancer will now be 'cured' or die from other causes. However, these benefits are only realised once the drugs get to the patients. Our report highlights that in many countries new drugs are not reaching patients quickly enough and that this is having an adverse impact on patient survival. Where you live can determine whether you receive the best available treatment or not. To some extent this is determined by economic factors, but much of the variation between countries remains unexplained.

"In the US we have found that the survival of cancer patients is significantly related to the introduction of new oncology drugs. From a European perspective, we have found differences in access reflected in patient outcome in the five major western European countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK."

Of these five European countries, France had the highest five-year survival rate for all cancers (apart from non-melanoma skin cancer): 71% for women and 53% for men. Spain had five-year survival rates of 64% and 50% respectively, in Germany it was 63% and 53%, in Italy 63% and 48%, and the UK had the lowest at 53% and 43% respectively. The report also shows that in France, Spain, Germany and Italy 51-52% of cancer patients were treated with drugs launched after 1985, but only 40% of patients in the UK had access to these drugs.

Dr Jnsson said: "Around one sixth of the differences between these five countries in five-year cancer survival is due to differences in the uptake of new drugs in each country."

Two other analyses in the report also related access to new canc
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
44-077-112-96986
European Society for Medical Oncology
9-May-2007


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