A new report published today by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) shows that the UK is faring worse than much of the rest of Europe in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
According to the ABPI, British patients have worse survival rates after five years – the international benchmark for measuring the quality of cancer care – compared to the European average in nine out of ten cancers, and access to cancer medicines is consistently lower in the UK than in most European countries.
The report is a UK focused analysis which builds on the Swedish Institute for Health Economics’ (IHE) ‘European Cancer Comparator Report’, which reported on the state of cancer care in Europe over a 20 year period from 1995 to 2014. The new analysis is launched alongside an online toolkit which, for the first time, means the data can be used to easily compare UK and EU cancer care.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:
“The Government’s ambition is for cancer outcomes in this country to be the best in Europe, and these worrying figures make plain how much there is still to do. Nearly 11,500 women are still losing their lives to breast cancer every year in the UK and we continue to lag unacceptably behind Europe on our investment, survival rates and access to the best medicines.
“While more women are surviving breast cancer than ever before in the UK, this devastating disease is far from a done deal. Together, we must act and invest now to prevent more cancers, detect the disease earlier, and discover new and targeted therapies for patients currently lacking options.
“Crucially, despite the very welcome decisions by NICE and the SMC on Kadcyla, we remain extremely concerned that women with incurable breast cancer may soon be denied access to other major drugs that could give them significant and precious extra time to live.
“Kadcyla must not be an exceptional case. If we are to have any hope of closing the gap between the UK and Europe on cancer outcomes, we must urgently find a way to make the best new cancer drugs available, and quickly, at prices the NHS can afford.”