ESMO Congress: Researchers Identify Barriers to Drug Access

The researchers identified discrepancies across the globe in patient access to life-saving cures for cancer.

Access to potentially life-extending cancer drugs varies significantly in different regions of the world, 2 new studies show at the ESMO 2014 Congress in Madrid, Spain.

Researchers say the results demonstrate the need for better collaboration between doctors and health authorities on an international scale, to ensure patients have access to the best treatments.

Coordinated action is needed at an international level to ensure new cancer-fighting drugs are approved in a timely manner, oncologists said at the Congress. Their call came after a survey revealed that patients in some regions sometimes wait years longer than their counterparts elsewhere for new drugs to be approved.

MD, MSEd, FRCPC

The drug approval process is important to ensure that safe and effective therapies are made available for patients, explains study senior author Sunil Verma , from Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Center, Toronto, Canada.

To try and understand disparities in the drug approval time among various countries, Dr Verma and coauthor Nardin Samuel compared approval times for 41 cancer drugs in Canada, the US and the European Union.

Link to ESMO's press release: http://bit.ly/1v8EJ74

Discussion on global barriers to drug access at ASCO 2014: http://bit.ly/1vloEcl