Pricing of oral generic cancer medicines in Europe; findings and implications

Category: Original Research
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Introduction: 
There are appreciable concerns among European health authorities with growing expenditure on cancer medicines and issues of sustainability. The enhanced use of low cost generics could help.
Aims:
Consequently, there is a need to comprehensively document current and future arrangements regarding the pricing of generic cancer medicines across Europe, and whether these are indication specific, as well as how this translates into actual prices to provide future direction.
Methodology:
Mixed method approach with qualitative research among senior health authority personnel and their advisers. Quantitative research via health authority databases to ascertain current prices for oral cancer medicines that had lost their patent and the influence of population size and economics on prices.
Results:
25 European countries participated. Currently we see (a) variable approaches to the pricing of generic cancer medicines, which will continue; (b) no concerns with substitution for oral generic cancer medicines; (c) substantial price reductions versus originators for generic capecitabine (up to -93.1%), generic imatinib (up to -97.8%) and generic temozolomide (up to -80.7%). Prices for oncology medicines are not indication specific, and are not affected by population size although influenced by pricing approaches. There have also been price increases for some non-patented cancer medicines following manufacturer changes although now stabilising.
Conclusion:
The considerable price reductions seen for some generics means health authorities should further encourage the use of generic oncology medicines when they become available to fund increased volumes and new valued cancer medicines. Countries are also starting to tackle price increases.

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