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Shortages of Inexpensive, Essential Cancer Medicines

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, and shortages negatively impact both the health of European citizens and the sustainability of the healthcare systems.

To address the frequent lack of medicines, ESMO launched a report in 2017 on Cancer medicines shortages in Europe: Policy recommendations to prevent and manage shortages and a Call to Action in 2019, requesting the EU to make a political commitment to tackle inexpensive essential medicines shortages.

Shortages of Inexpensive Essential Medicines Recommendations

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)

To support this initiative, the Economist Intelligence Unit and ESMO 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 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.

Read the reports below:

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