EFPIA Statement on the Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA) report
Over the last decades, some incredible advances in cancer care have taken place through more effective preventative programmes, timely diagnosis, and advances in treatment. In addition, research continues to advance with over 1,300 cancer medicines in development and over 1,200 oncology clinical trials started in 2020.
We are hopeful that these efforts will help us beat cancer and continuously improve the quality of life of cancer patients and survivors.
The EOP – the EFPIA Oncology Platform - welcomes the Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA) report, that has been adopted by the plenary of the European Parliament on 16 February 2022. The report aims to find a comprehensive and coordinated strategy to strengthen the fight against cancer.
We strongly value the commitment of European Parliament Members to ensure cancer care for patients remains at the top of the EU health agenda, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
We particularly appreciate the report’s focus on highlighting rare cancers, developing personalised medicine and strengthening screening, to allow timely diagnosis and effective access to treatment. It is also encouraging to see how the report appeals for the creation of new digital resources and platforms, to enable good use of artificial intelligence and improve the quality life of cancer patients.
However, we are concerned that some positions within the report will have a negative impact on our ability to deliver new treatments and the ability to adapt the price of new oncology treatments in different countries, based on their economic conditions and other value-based considerations.
EFPIA believes in more transparency throughout the pharmaceutical system; we are working to create a portal where Marketing Authorisation Holders (MAH) can provide timely information regarding the timing and processing of Pricing and Reimbursement (P&R) applications in the EU-27 countries within a 2-year time frame following the granting of the Marketing Authorisation. The Portal will detail the reasons why there may be a delay in the P&R decision or why a MAH may not have filed for P&R in a particular market. This increased transparency of the barriers and delays to access will allow stakeholders to identify and address delays and barriers in partnership.
However, disclosing net prices, in the context of external reference pricing and parallel trade, removes the flexibility for companies to adapt the price of a medicine to a Member State’s economic and healthcare settings.
EFPIA also recognises that information on the R&D process and costs may be important and is open to engage on how industry could make the information it already shares more consistent and useful, as well as how the availability of this information could be increased. The importance of sharing information on, and increasing public understanding of, the R&D process and its associated costs is well-recognised. However, it must be noted that estimates of R&D expenditure are not helpful for determining the appropriate pricing of medicines. It is simply not feasible to attribute decades of science in a particular avenue of science to one particular therapy. Take mRNA as an example, the R&D funding was focused for decades in using mRNA for oncology while it then became the technology platform for multiple COVID-19 vaccines. Secondly, basing price on the cost of research incentivises long, inefficient and expensive research rather than the value a new treatment delivers to the patient.
On Joint Procurement, while EFPIA supports the use of joint procurement in the context of serious cross-border threats, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, EFPIA believes joint procurement is not a solution for more sustainable supplies of and improved access to vaccines and innovative medicines in Europe in general. Last week, EFPIA published a White Paper on the Effectiveness of Public Procurement of Medicines in the EU including 10 recommendations to ensure that procurement practices across the region are effective and sustainable, delivering high quality medicines for patients, in the right quantities and at the right time.
It is our hope that through the Beating Cancer Plan, Europe can both back innovation in oncology and boost access to new treatments for the benefit of all Europeans affected by cancer. We stand ready to work with MEPs, the EU and Member States to achieve these aims.
Read more on our vision to build a European Cancer Ecosystem to beat cancer