EFPIA's input to the EU's Beating Cancer Plan Roadmap consultation

The research-based pharmaceutical industry remains committed to improving cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and quality of life of patients. The last two decades have seen great progress in treatment innovation allowing people affected by cancer to live longer and more productive lives. With an ageing population and growing incidence of cancer (50% since 1995) controlling it will require a multi-stakeholder effort, investment of substantial resources and effective coordination of national policies. Mortality increased at much lower pace (20% since 1995) due to progress in the whole cancer journey: prevention, better diagnosis and better treatment. But spending on cancer care remains static during the same period (4 to 7% of total health expenditure yearly) in Europe. Society is not yet investing in tackling cancer according to the burden of disease or citizen expectations. Significant progress is being made, but beating cancer will require broad political support, new initiatives to boost innovation and continued investment.

There are significant differences across Europe in the level of overall healthcare spend/cancer specific investment as well as the organization, delivery, and quality of care. Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan should complement Member State activities with the objective to a) set clear European cancer targets in incidence, mortality, 5-year survival and quality of life; b) improve the availability and the sharing of data, c) support Member States to achieve the goal of beating cancer.

• Undertake a detailed situational assessment and set European objectives (cancer care targets) to be achieved under the Plan
• Support initiatives already at the disposal of Member States (cancer registries, data infrastructure)
• Promote a patient-centric understanding of the whole cancer journey, including focus on patient empowerment, patient-relevant outcomes, cancer literacy and the benefits for society overall
• Mitigate the extent and effect of workforce shortages
• Implement Key Performance Indicators (poss. using existing mechanisms like the European Semester)

Ways to do it:
• Create a European platform with all relevant stakeholders to identify synergies and facilitate the sharing of best practices, integrating patient perspectives
• Establish a structure of federated national databases

KPIs (European Cancer Outcomes Dashboard):
• Clinical: Incidence, mortality, 5-year survival, disability adjusted life years gained, recurrence
• Financial: Public expenditure/investment in oncology, efficiency of screening/diagnosis, technology in different stages, diagnostics, treatment & care, cost-effectiveness of public spend, % of access to innovative oncology treatments
• Patient: Time from first referral to treatment, patient experience of care, return to work rates, improved capacity of reintegration into society, palliative care, patient-reported outcomes
• Healthcare system efficiency & national cancer plans

The plan should take a comprehensive approach by going beyond access to the medicine/treatment itself and also consider prerequisites for access, e.g. access to molecular diagnostics and quality biomarker testing. A vision for investment in pathology capacity is needed and cohesion funds could be used to address unequal access to laboratory infrastructure.

Continued development and access to innovations for rare, paediatric and neglected cancers requires a coordinated approach across a number of European policy initiatives, budget priorities and a stable and predictable, pro-innovation legislative framework. The EU incentives framework for rare and paediatric medicines should continue to support the development of oncology treatments in these populations. Adapted HTA and access frameworks, including acceptance of surrogate endpoints as appropriate, coverage with evidence development and novel pricing and payment models will support timely patient access while ensuring value for payers.

For more information on the activities of the EFPIA Oncology Platform, click here.