RIGA - There are important disparities in the price of cancer medicines within the 28 EU member States. New cancer drugs are incredibly expensive for patients in some Eastern member states or simply not available because of shortages.

Cancer Patients in Eastern European countries can often not afford newer drugs, because they are extraordinarily costly. Patients have to borrow money and sell their cars or houses in order to be able to pay their treatment. Big cancer drug manufacturers like Roche and Novartis often charge equal or even higher prices for innovative drugs in poorer Eastern countries than in affluent Western European states.

The European Commission recently sponsored two studies on this topic, but says that it has no mandate to intervene in this area. Decisions on pricing and reimbursing of drugs are taken by Member States.

The cross-border project focused on five European countries: Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania, Greece and Switzerland.

Team members

Eric Breitinger

Eric Breitinger is a Senior Editor of Saldo (Zürich).

Stanimir Vaglenov

Stanimir Vaglenov is the online projects manager at Media Group Bulgaria.

Cristian Niculescu

Cristian Niculescu works as a journalist and trainer of the Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism.

Dimitra Triantafyllou

Dimitra Triantafyllou is a Greek journalist specialised in reportages and stories on social issues, motherhood and public health.

David Leloup

David Leloup has been working as a freelance journalist in Belgium since 2000.

Harry Karanikas

Harry Karanikas is an investigative reporter in print and digital media and a producer of various investigative broadcasts on Greek TV.

Aleksandra Jolkina

Aleksandra Jolkina is a former Deutsche Welle journalist who now works in academia.

picture of Aleksandra Jolkina
Grant of €6.575, allocated on 13/02/2015




  • Dzīvosi, ja samaksāsi (LV) - IR, 9 June 2016
  • Ακόμα πιο δύσκολοι καιροί για καρκινοπαθείς (GR) - Greek Report, 19 February 2016
  • Maximaler Profit auf Kosten der Patienten (CH) - Saldo, 17 February 2016

need resources for your own investigative story?

Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.


support independent cross-border investigative journalism

We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.