EFPIA Oncology Platform Statement in response to the Special Committee on Beating Cancer draft report

The EFPIA Oncology Platform (EOP) welcomes the European Parliament Special Committee on Beating Cancer draft report on “strengthening Europe in the fight against cancer – towards a comprehensive and coordinated strategy” as a document that could further support the meaningful implementation of the ambitious Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan (EBCP).
The EOP would like to thank the rapporteur, her team and the BECA committee members who worked on the draft report. We welcome the Committee’s calls on the Member States and EU Commission to implement effective prevention measures and reduce inequalities across the EU.

More specifically, we believe that concrete actions should be taken towards 4 directions:
1. Measuring progress. We strongly believe that an indicator framework is necessary to track progress in improving cancer care among EU Member States and regions, and across cancer types. This will help all stakeholders to timely identify gaps and ensure continuous progress. The EOP along with the European Cancer Organisation (E.C.O.) and the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) has been advocating for the establishment of a dashboard to achieve this objective. We invite EU institutions, Member States and national healthcare authorities, as well as any other interested stakeholders, to engage and co-shape the relevant content and indicators in this assessment framework, which we believe should be public-facing, forward-looking and inclusive. 

2. Unleashing the power of data and digital to improve cancer care. As pointed out in this report and at the EFPIA Oncology Data Summit: Unleashing the potential of data to improve cancer care, the key areas of action to achieve this objective are clear and require focus and collaboration to materialise.

3. Optimising the use of personalised medicine across Europe as indicated in the EOP-commissioned report by LSE ‘Access to Personalised Oncology in Europe’, by increasing collaboration across several areas, including infrastructure and interoperability, to improve access to biomarker testing and consequently identify the best treatment option for each patient throughout the entire course of the disease. This approach is predicted to lead to better outcomes and to reduce risk of side effects for cancer patients as well as to reduce costs whilst improving efficiencies of healthcare systems.

4. Enhancing the agility of processes, from R&D and Marketing Authorisation process to European HTA collaboration to make optimal use of existing resources. The EOP remains committed to ensuring faster time to access to innovation translating into continuous improvement of health outcomes for patients. Yet, no value is derived from innovation if patients for whom a new therapy is intended cannot have access to it. In the report Improving time to patient access to innovative oncology therapies in Europe - Every Day Counts’ and its COVID-19 addendum we highlight potential ways forward and ask for prioritisation in clearing the cancer backlog while applying learnings from the pandemic.

We welcome the effort of synchronising the work of the “Mission on Cancer” on research with the objective of the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.
We support the highlighted efforts on Screening and Early Detection as effective ways to prevent cancer and avoid late stage of the disease. However, we caution that not all cancers are preventable.
We therefore urge the committee to consider this when further developing the report, as well as to consider holistically all cancer types (including malignant haematology as pointed by EESC) and to give attention to the specific needs of patients with late-stage or metastatic cancer beyond palliative care. While this aspect is very important, data show that therapeutic innovations increased the survival chances of advanced/metastatic cancer patients.
We are looking forward to the next steps and the discussions in the European Parliament. The EOP and its members look forward to constructively engaging with the BECA Committee stakeholders and support the successful implementation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan in any way possible.