The Value of Innovation in Oncology

Today's LillyPad EU guest post comes from Lydia Makaroff, Director, and Francesco Florindi, Head of EU Affairs, of the European Cancer Patient Coalition.

At the 2017 European Cancer Congress in Amsterdam, the European Cancer Patient Coalition launched a new white paper on the Value of Innovation in Oncology. Each year, over three million Europeans are diagnosed with cancer, and over one million Europeans die from the disease. With a growing and ageing population, action is urgently needed to address this major global health and societal concern. Our white paper was produced to help policy-makers understand how they can work towards sustainable and equitable access to innovative cancer care and treatment for all Europeans. This white paper was developed over a one-year period, in collaboration with Interel Public Affairs, oncology experts, and the patient organisations that form the membership of the European Cancer Patient Coalition. It includes over 30 evidence-based policy recommendations spanning ten healthcare areas, including development and approval of new drugs, diagnostics, health technology assessment, radio-oncology, pricing, surgery, cancer registries, eHealth and mHealth, disinvestment, and care pathways.

The following month, in February 2017, the new European Guide on Quality Improvement in Comprehensive Cancer Control was presented during the final conference of the Joint Action on Cancer Control (CanCon) in Malta. The European Guide on Quality Improvement in Comprehensive Cancer Control presents key recommendations to potentiate European countries' capacity to fight cancer. The recommendations span the whole patient journey from prevention to treatment and survivorship. The Guide explains in detail which measures European governments should implement to make National Cancer Control Plans more resilient and effective, focusing on key aspects of cancer care such as integrated cancer control, community-level cancer control, survivorship and rehabilitation, and screening. The European Cancer Patient Coalition calls for full and fast implementation of this new European guide on cancer control.

The European Cancer Patient Coalition calls for seven priority by the European institutions and Member States:

  1. Patients should be routinely involved decision making processes with regulators, academia and industry in the development of innovative cancer treatments;
  2. The European Union and Member States must define an ambitious political plan to continue harmonising health technology assessment at the European level, in which patients and their representatives are formally and routinely included.
  3. There should be a stronger enforcement of the existing access framework for Member States, i.e. to take the decision of setting a price and reimbursement of a medicine within 180-days from the European Medicines Authority authorisation;
  4. Member States should invest in innovative radiotherapy equipment and workforce training to help overcome inequalities in access to radiation oncology;
  5. The focus of development of innovative surgical techniques should be to improve long-term survival and better quality of life;
  6. Innovative eHealth and mHealth tools should be used in parallel with innovative care pathways, to increase patient-centricity by design and by default, and should be subject to solid, visible and transparent assessment and governance by a European-level monitoring body.
  7. The performance of standardised cancer patient pathways should be carefully monitored, and strategies to ensure that the pathways are effective should be included into national cancer plans.

Innovative healthcare technologies, strategies and services offer the potential to improve the lives of many people living with cancer. Ensuring that effective innovations are accessible and affordable to all patients is a challenge facing all cancer stakeholders.

The successful development and implementation of new cancer care modalities stems from putting the needs of patients at the centre of the innovation process.

Patients are the ultimate beneficiaries and users of cancer diagnosis, treatment, and care. They have unique knowledge, perspectives and experiences that improves and encourages innovation in oncology. Optimal innovation can only be obtained by understand the diverse needs and preferences of cancer patients, and integrating patient-centred approaches throughout the regulatory and healthcare system.

The European Cancer Patient Coalition gratefully acknowledges the support of Bristol Myers-Squibb, Eli Lilly & company, MSD, Novartis, and Roche in producing the Value of Innovation in Oncology white paper. The scope and the content of the white paper is the sole responsibility of the European Cancer Patient Coalition.

The Value of Innovation in Oncology white paper can be found at: www.ecpc.org/innovation

 The new European Guide on Quality Improvement in Comprehensive Cancer Control can be found at: www.cancercontrol.eu/

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