Research News

Cancer drugs can be four times more costly in some wealthy countries than in others

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 04 December 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6578
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1The BMJ

High income countries in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand pay vastly different prices for cancer drugs, a study in the Lancet Oncology has found.

The study, which looked at prices of 31 cancer drugs still under patent in 16 European countries, Australia, and New Zealand in 2013, showed that the United Kingdom, Greece, Spain, and Portugal secured the cheapest deals overall, while Sweden, Switzerland, and Germany paid the highest prices.1

In the case of gemcitabine—used in treating various cancers including breast, lung, pancreatic, and ovarian cancer—the cost in New Zealand (€209 (£148; $220) a vial) was more than four times the cost in Australia (€43). In …

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