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Study Finds Drug Access Inequalities

Wed, 07/11/2012 - 11:20am

Cancer patients in the United States get faster access to more oncology drugs to treat their disease than patients in Europe, according to a newly completed study by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development.
 
In addition, the study found, new oncology drug approvals in the U.S. outpaced European approvals by 33% between 2000 and 2011.
 
"While greater access to more treatment options is definitely a positive for patients in the U.S., it is not clear if greater access leads to better health outcomes," noted Joshua P. Cohen, research assistant professor at Tufts CSDD who conducted the analysis.
 
He said that the growing use of comparative effectiveness research, which provides information on the relative strengths and weaknesses of different medical technologies, could help close the gap between what is known and what is done in pharmaceutical care.
 
"Although more oncology drugs are available in the U.S., and the costs for a higher share of them are reimbursed, the evidence-based approach adopted by European systems have improved the affordability of drugs in Europe that are considered to be cost-effective," Cohen said.
 
The study, reported in the July/August Tufts CSDD Impact Report and released today, also found that:
• Between 2000 and 2011, 40 oncology drugs received market approval in the U.S. compared to 30 in Europe.
• Oncology drug prices in Europe, on average, are 9% lower than in the U.S.
• Patient cost sharing is much lower in Europe than the U.S., where the average co-insurance rate per covered drug is 33%.

Date: July 10, 2012
Source: Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development

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