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.
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