Home » Tumors, in Italy over 1 year to access new drugs – Healthcare

Tumors, in Italy over 1 year to access new drugs – Healthcare

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Tumors, in Italy over 1 year to access new drugs – Healthcare

It still takes too long to access innovative anti-cancer treatments in Italy. In three years (2018-2021), 46 anti-cancer molecules have been marketed in Europe and our country has guaranteed the availability of 38, placing it in third place after Germany (45) and Switzerland (41), and ahead of France (33) , Greece (32), Sweden (30), Holland (29) and Spain (26). Italian cancer patients, however, still have to wait 419 days, 14 months, to access these drugs after approval by the European Medicines Agency (102 in Germany, 145 in Denmark). For this reason, the Italian Association of Medical Oncology (Aiom) calls for the abolishment of Regional Therapeutic Handbooks which lengthen the availability times of therapies.

The appeal comes from the XXV National Congress of the scientific society in Rome. Latency times have reduced in recent years: in fact, they exceeded 24 months a decade ago. But they are still too long, especially if it involves life-saving therapies capable, in some cases, of making the tumor chronic or healing. In Italy, “every day, 1,070 people fall ill with cancer – says Saverio Cinieri, President of Aiom -. In 2022, new cases were 390,700. Five-year survival is equal to 65% in women and 59% in men, and reaches 90% in very frequent neoplasms such as those of the breast and prostate.

These data place Italy at the top in the world. However, it is essential to guarantee more timely access to innovative molecules: the Regional Therapeutic Handbooks must be abolished and immediate availability must be allowed after publication in the Journal, even pending regional tenders”. In fact, in 10 Regions the Therapeutic Handbooks are still present (Hospital) Regional, i.e. lists of drugs that can be prescribed within hospital facilities, and there are strong territorial disparities: “Many regions – underlines Francesco Perrone, president-elect of Aiom – have attributed a binding nature to their Handbook, in others they are not binding for the purchase of oncology drugs. Others, however, do not have them and have immediate availability of therapies. These are unacceptable disparities. We hope that the Aifa reform will be completed as soon as possible. A defined structure of the regulatory agency could in fact help to resolve these problems.”

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