Cancer drugs on the market much later here than in the US: “Already 30,000 years of patients’ lives lost”

New cancer drugs are on average only eight months later on the market in Europe than in the United States. That reports the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad based on a study by Erasmus University Rotterdam. According to Professor Carin Uyl-de Groot, the delay means that many cancer patients in Europe die earlier and unnecessarily. The researcher states that due to the shortage of medicines in Europe, 30,000 years of life of cancer patients have already been lost.

In Europe, a new cancer drug enters the market on average 403 days after approval by the competent authorities. In the US, this happens after an average of 161 days. European cancer patients therefore have to wait an average of 242 days longer for medicines, on which their lives may depend.

Slow bureaucracy

Uyl-de Groot argues that the delay can partly be explained by the fact that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is a lot slower with registering new medicines than the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is not entirely clear why this procedure at the EMA takes a lot longer. According to Uyl-de Groot, this may be because the EMA has to handle more questions for approvals than their American colleagues.

After that, the individual European member states still have to adopt the positive advice of the EMA. Only once that has been completed can the medicine be placed on the market in the Member State in question.

30,000 years of life lost

Uyl-de Groot states that the delay in drugs against melanoma and prostate cancer has already led to a loss of 30,000 years of life in Europe. During the approval process, 11,184 skin cancer patients and 55,853 prostate cancer patients in Europe could not be treated with appropriate resources

The EMA does not want to respond to the study yet, because experts need more time to study the study. “Our main concern now is the Covid-19 pandemic,” the agency said.


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