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IHE Report
/Costs and disease burden
Hofmarcher T, Ericson O, Lindgren P

Cancer in Ireland – Disease Burden, Costs and Access to Medicines

This report provides key statistics about cancer in Ireland. It builds on IHE Comparator Report 2019:7 and provides a comparison of Ireland with other selected countries in Europe. The key findings are the following:

The disease burden of cancer:
• Cancer has become the leading cause of death in Ireland over the past two decades.
• The number of newly diagnosed cancer cases in Ireland has doubled from 12,000 to 24,000 cases since 1995, driven mostly by demographic changes.

The economic burden of cancer:
• The economic burden of cancer exceeds €320 per capita per year, of which €200 are health expenditure and €120 are costs from productivity losses.
• Official aggregated data on health spending on cancer are absent in Ireland, but estimates indicate that per capita spending on cancer in Ireland is similar to the EU-15 average.
• The indirect costs of cancer have been decreasing in Ireland since 2000 due to better patient outcomes.

Outcomes of cancer patients and spending:
• Cancer survival has improved in Ireland, yet survival rates in many cancer types are lower than in other EU-15 countries resulting in hundreds of avoidable deaths every year.
• Across Europe, there is a clear pattern of countries spending more on cancer care achieving higher survival rates, which makes spending in Ireland appear less efficient.

Access to cancer medicines:
• Time to patient access of new EMA-approved cancer medicines is exceptionally long in Ireland compared with the EU-15 countries, reaching almost 2 years.
• Once reimbursed, the use of modern cancer medicines in Ireland is close to the EU-15 average, however.
• The lack of patient access to modern, effective cancer medicines in Ireland leads to a great loss in life years and quality of life of cancer patients.

Ireland’s cancer survival rates lag behind other EU countries with access to new drugs ‘limited’
Article in, Eilish O’Regan, October 20, 2022

Over 600 lives could be saved in Ireland each year if cancer services were improved, study finds
Article in The Irish Times, Health, Paul Cullen October 19, 2022

For more information, please contact Thomas Hofmarcher

IHE Report 2022:4, IHE: Lund, Sweden