High price of cancer medicines make treatment unaffordable globally

Generics/Research | Posted 29/10/2021 post-comment1 Post your comment

Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. Currently, there are increasing concerns about the price of cancer medicines and how this can limit patient access to lifesaving treatments. Now, a new study published in Applied Health Economics and Health Policy [1] calls for strengthened pricing policies that can ensure affordable cancer treatment for all.

Cancer image015

In their investigation, Daniela Moye-Holz of the University of Groningen, and Dr Sabine Vogler of the World Health Organization (WHO), focussed their study on the prices of originator cancer medicines in countries in Europe and Latin America. They then assessed the affordability of these medicines by setting their prices in relation to national minimum wages.

The researchers found that, in European countries with higher levels of income (these comprised of Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK), the prices of cancer medicines were relatively lower than in European countries of lower income (which were comprised of Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Spain) and the Latin American countries (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru) in the study.

With the exception of one medicine, all surveyed medicines were considered unaffordable in the majority of countries. The study also found that, in the lower income European countries and Latin American countries, for several of the medicines under investigation, more than 15 days’ worth of minimum wages are needed for a worker to afford to purchase one defined daily dose.

The authors conclude that these high levels of unaffordability in countries across the world are a major barrier to access for cancer treatment. They urge policymakers to implement policies that will make medicines more affordable and accessible. As access to affordable treatment options is a global challenge, countries need to collaborate to achieve fair and sustainable pricing.

Related articles
US opinion on prescription drug affordability

Federal purchases of biological drugs for cancer in Brazil

Technological approaches to drug repurposing for cancer treatment

A call for economic reassessment of drug regimens


The new section of the ‘Latin American Forum’ on GaBI has been launched. The objective of this new section is to provide you with all the latest news and updates on developments of generic and biosimilar medicines in Latin America in Spanish.

View this week’s headline article: Los datos apoyan la intercambiabilidad de los biosimilares de la UE

Browse the news in the Latin American Forum!

Register to receive the GaBI Latin American Forum newsletter. Inform colleagues and friends of this new initiative.


Se ha lanzado la nueva sección del ‘Foro Latinoamericano’ sobre GaBI. El objetivo de esta nueva sección es brindarle las últimas noticias y actualizaciones sobre desarrollos de medicamentos genéricos y biosimilares en América Latina en español.

Vea el artículo principal de esta semana: Los datos apoyan la intercambiabilidad de los biosimilares de la UE

Explore las noticias en el Foro Latinoamericano!

Regístrese para recibir el boletín informativo GaBI Foro Latinoamericano. Informe a colegas y amigos sobre esta nueva iniciativa. 


1. Moye‑Holz D, S Vogler. Comparison of prices and affordability of cancer medicines in 16 countries in Europe and Latin America. Appl Health Econ Health Policy. 2021 Jul 6. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40258-021-00670-4

Permission granted to reproduce for personal and non-commercial use only. All other reproduction, copy or reprinting of all or part of any ‘Content’ found on this website is strictly prohibited without the prior consent of the publisher. Contact the publisher to obtain permission before redistributing.

Copyright – Unless otherwise stated all contents of this website are © 2021 Pro Pharma Communications International. All Rights Reserved.

comment icon Comments (1)
Post your comment
Posted 27/05/2024 by Kevin James
Cancer medicines can be cheaper with generic

This is really nightmare for cancer family. Many people are dying because of unaffordable cancer medicines. Government should take some step to resolve as like Indian generic pharmaceuticals company doing it. They are producing same generic equivalent with lowest cost. We are buying generic cancer medicine online from medixocentre.com at affordable price. This is big relief for us.

Most viewed articles
About GaBI
Home/About GaBI Posted 06/08/2009
EU guidelines for biosimilars
EMA logo 1 V13C15
Home/Guidelines Posted 08/10/2010