Fair Pricing Network advocates transparent and responsible pricing of cancer drugs


On 30 November, the Dutch Cancer Society has launched a European collaboration collective which advocates transparent and responsible pricing of cancer drugs in order to put an end to expensive cancer drugs. Researchers from the Health Technology Assessment group of the Netherlands Cancer Institute will conduct comparative research into the pricing of cancer drugs in European countries.

Patients should be given better access to new cancer drugs. This is why the European Fair Pricing Network (EFPN) is combining comparative research into the pricing and the availability of cancer drugs in several European countries with advocacy. This is the first time this problem is being tackled on this scale.

Research into pricing

Comparative research is needed to clarify whether price negotiations are useful, or rather result in delays in accessibility. It can also discover how quickly drugs become available for patients in various countries and whether there are any price differences between European countries. Until now, the way drug prices are built up has been shrouded in mystery.

Johan van de Gronden, Director at the Dutch Cancer Society: ‘Strong collaborations between cancer organisations throughout the whole of Europe will allow the DCS to turn the escalating drug prices landscape in favour of the patient.’

The European Fair Pricing Network (EFPN) strives for fair and clear pricing and a transparent market for new and expensive cancer drugs. The EFPN was founded by the Dutch Cancer Society and other European cancer organisations from more than 10 different countries. International collaboration is essential in order to be able to estimate the size of the problem and to look for possible solutions.

René Medema, Chair of the Board and Director of Research of the Netherlands Cancer Institute: “It is of crucial importance to our institute that our health system is both accessible and sustainable. More research into drug pricing and differences in price levels will enable us to turn the right knobs.

50,000 euro

Immunotherapy is a valuable but expensive new type of cancer therapy, which has proved to be of long-term benefit for a group of patients. Just one example: Pembrolizumab is a form of immunotherapy for patients with lung cancer and lymph node cancer. It can also be used to treat skin cancer (melanoma), bladder cancer, kidney cancer, or cancer in the head and neck area. The manufacturer charges 50,000 euro per year for treating a patient. The use of this particular drug is increasing, which means the health care costs are too. The actual cost of this drug is a secret and how the price is structured is unknown. This makes it impossible to enter into discussions about a possible lower price. The EFPN’s foundation should bring about changes in this field.

The EFPN doesn’t just represent health funds such as the Dutch Cancer Society, but also organisations such as the Netherlands Cancer Institute and the European Cancer League’s Access to Medicines Task Force. There is also a close working relationship with the Organisation of European Cancer Centres -OECI-.

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