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.

Eric Breitinger

Eric Breitinger is a Senior Editor of Saldo (Zürich), a bi-weekly Swiss magazine. He specialises in investigations into the health system, big pharma, consumer topics and environmental issues.

Stanimir Vaglenov

Stanimir Ivanonv Vaglenov has been working as a journalist for 25 years. His first publication was released a week after the fall of the Berlin wall.

Cristian Niculescu

Cristian Niculescu has been working as a journalist for over 22 years. He has worked for newspapers, radio and television for major media trusts in Romania. His favorite areas are investigations into economic and political issues.

Dimitra Triantafyllou

Dimitra Triantafyllou is a journalist specialised in reportages and stories on social issues, motherhood and public health. She has worked as a stuffer for the biggest free news platform of Greece (Athens Voice), various other news outlets and well-known Greek weekly magazines, writing pieces from all different fields of journalism.

David Leloup

David Leloup has been working as a freelance journalist in Belgium since 2000, focusing on tax evasion, corruption and economic crimes, science and environmental issues. He has collaborated with various TV and print media in Belgium (Le Soir, RTBF, Le Vif/L’Express), France (Rue89, Le Monde), Switzerland (Le Temps) and India (Headlines Today).

Harry Karanikas

Harry Karanikas is an investigative reporter in print and digital media and a producer of various investigative broadcasts on Greek TV. His work has included investigations on the role of complex financial deals that were used to cover up Greece’s and other EU countries’ deficits and on the “Greek statistics” that signaled the beginning of the economic crisis.

Aleksandra Jolkina

Aleksandra Jolkina is a journalist specialised in investigative reporting with a particular interest in EU and East European affairs. Currently based in Cologne, Germany, she works for the Deutsche Welle and regularly contributes to Latvian media.

Grant of €6.575, allocated on 13/02/2015
European Cross-border Grants
  • Europe
  • Health




  • 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