Comparator Report on Patient Access to Cancer Medicines in Europe Revisited- A UK Perspective

Jönsson B, Hofmarcher T, Lindgren P, Moen F and Wilking N

IHE has published a new comparator report on the cost of cancer and access to cancer medicines. The report is a condensed version of the previously published report, Comparator report on patient access to cancer medicines in Europe revisited (IHE Report 2016:4) and focusing on the UK.

The report reveals similar trends in the UK as in the rest of Europe: incidence of cancer is increasing, as is mortality in absolute terms but once demographic factors is accounted for mortality has decreased due to increased survival. However, compared to countries with similar economic status the UK lags behind.

Cancer care is a highly complex eco-system and there are without a doubt many reasons behind the UK’s relatively low performance. One factor may be the overall investment level. The UK invests less than the EU average in health care (9,.1% compared to 10,.1%) with many economically comparative countries investing significantly more: Netherlands 12,.9% France at 11,.7% Germany at 11,.3%.

The UK also spends less of its health care resources on cancer than leading Western European countries. Though the proportion of direct costs spent on cancer medicines in the UK has increased from 8% in 2005 to 25% in 2014, the total share spent on cancer care has remained stable. The introduction of over 100 new medicines between 1996 and 2015 has to a large extent been funded by a shift from inpatient to ambulatory outpatient care.

Uptake of cancer medicines varies between countries but is generally slower for the UK compared to other four largest European economies. Of the eight individual drugs included in the report, the UK had the lowest or 2nd lowest use for six of them.

The newest drugs (launched within the last three years) make up only 8% of the total average sales across Europe, varying between 4% and 11% per year in different countries, with the higher share percentages in richer countries. In the UK that figure has historically been lower than 5%. In 2013 it started to increase however, likely related to the introduction of the Cancer Drugs Fund. Though the investment in new medicines has increased, little effort have been made to monitor how the money in the CDF expenditure has been translated into patient outcomes.

The work on this report was funded by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

Questions regarding the report can be directed to Peter Lindgren

Previously published IHE Reports:

Jönsson B, Hofmarcher T, Lindgren P and Wilking N
Comparator report on patient access to cancer medicines in Europe revisited
Lund, Sweden: IHE Report 2016:4

Jönsson B, Persson U and Wilking N
Innovative treatments for cancer in Europe -Value, cost and access
Lund, Sweden: IHE Report 2016:2

Hofmarcher T, Jönsson B & Wilking N
Access to high-quality oncology care across Europe
Lund, Sweden: IHE Report 2014:2

Download the report

Lund, Sweden: IHE Report 2017:1