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Shortages of Inexpensive, Essential Cancer Medicines

The shortages of inexpensive essential medicines are a growing public health emergency

Shortages of  Inexpensive Essential Medicines Banner

The shortages of inexpensive essential medicines are a growing public health emergency that requires concerted and collaborative action at EU level.

While there is a clear impact of shortages on patient outcomes, their causes are complex and multifactorial and cannot be solved by any Member State alone.

The situation can be particularly devastating for cancer patients, as the medicines affected by shortages often have few or no proven effective alternatives.

Recognising that this issue cannot be addressed by a single country on its own, ESMO organised an event to drive EU-level action on shortages of essential cancer medicines. The meeting, a cross-partisan event entitled “Shortages of Inexpensive, Essential Medicines: Calling for Tangible Political Commitments in the EU”, organised in collaboration with the European Parliament,  aimed at bringing together Europe’s prominent stakeholders on the topic and drive concerted and collaborative action at EU level.

The Economist Intelligence Unit and ESMO have prepared a set of Reports on the current situation of medicines shortages in 5 countries – Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Belgium, and Finland. The 5 country profiles, launched during the event, show that unfortunately there is a lack of data on the magnitude of the issue and that European and international collaborations are key to facilitate the exchange of products in short supply.

Shortages negatively impact both the health of European citizens and the sustainability of the healthcare systems. That’s why ESMO is proposing a course of action with key steps to be taken in the near future.

Shortages of Inexpensive Essential Medicines Recommendations
  1. ECPC – European Cancer Patient Coalition
  2. EKHA – European Kidney Health Alliance 
  3. EORTC – European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer
  4. ERS – European Respiratory Society 
  5. ESOP – European Society of Oncology Pharmacy 
  6. EAHP – European Association Hospital Pharmacists 
  7. ECDA – European Chronic Disease Alliance 
  8. SIOPE – European Society for Paediatric Oncology 
  9. ECCO – European CanCer Organisation
  10. EHA - European Hematology Association 
  11. EAACI – European Academy of Allergy & Clinical Immunology 
  12. EPF – European Patients’ Forum
  13. ABC Global Alliance
  14. ESO – European School of Oncology
  15. EONS - European Oncology Nursing Society
  16. WBCPC – World Bladder Cancer Patient Coalition
  1. José Inácio Faria (EPP, Portugal)
  2. Alojz Peterle (EPP, Slovenia)
  3. Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, Finland)
  4. Annie Schreijer-Pierik (EPP, the Netherlands)
  5. Francis Zammit Dimech (EPP, Malta)
  6. Lívia Járóka (EPP, Hungary)
  7. Maria Grapini (S&D, Romania)
  8. Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D, Poland)
  9. Lieve Wierinck (ALDE, Belgium)
  10. Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE, France)
  11. Jana Žitňanská (ECR, Slovakia)
  12. Pavel Poc (S&D, Czech Republic)
  13. Soledad Cabezón Ruiz (S&D, Spain)
  14. Tiemo Wölken (S&D, Germany)
  15. Seán Kelly (EPP, Ireland)
  16. Duvravka Šuica (EPP, Croatia)
  17. Piernicola Pedicini (EFDD, Italy) 
  18. Cristian-Silviu Buşoi (EPP, Romania) 
  19. Paul Rübig (EPP, Austria) 
  20. Elmar Brok (EPP, Germany)
Inexpensive Essential Cancer Medicines Shortages Collage

Central picture. From left to right: Cristian-Silviu Bușoi (EPP, Romania), Dubravka Šuica (EPP, Croatia), Lieve Wierinck (ALDE, Belgium), José Inácio Faria (EPP, Portugal), Seán Kelly (EPP, Ireland), Josep Tabernero (ESMO, President), Soledad Cabezón Ruiz (S&D, Spain)

Top line. From left to right: José Inácio Faria (EPP, Portugal), Lieve Wierinck (ALDE, Belgium), Dubravka Šuica (EPP, Croatia), Maria Grapini (S&D, Romania), Paul Rübig (EPP, Austria)

Middle line. From left to right: (top) Seán Kelly (EPP, Ireland), (bottom) Soledad Cabezón Ruiz (S&D, Spain), Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, Finland), Tiemo Wölken (S&D, Germany)

Bottom line. From left to right: Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg (ALDE, Poland), Alojz Peterle (EPP, Slovenia), Cristian-Silviu Bușoi (EPP, Romania), Annie Schreijer-Pierik (EPP, Netherlands), Elmar Brok (EPP, Germany), Lívia Járóka (EPP, Hungary)


If your organisation wants to support or endorse the call to action, please send an email to ESMO Public Policy, publicpolicy@esmo.org.

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