We are pleased to publish our new report, ‘Filling the Gap: How off patent medicines can improve the equity and quality of cancer care” which has been produced in conjunction with our sister organisation, Medicines for Europe.

This report outlines a range of important national and European policy recommendations that illustrate the important role of generic, biosimilar and value-added medicines plays in ensuring equitable access to cancer care. This is especially the case in Ireland, where increased competition for resources within the Health Service Executive, means that smarter use of off-patent medicines can improve the equity and quality of cancer care for patients.

Availability of affordable off-patent cancer treatment is one of the greatest assets to efficient cancer care in Europe. They offer an opportunity to deliver on equitable patient access to the pharmaceutical standards of care and to better cancer care pathways. In Ireland, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused delays in cancer care that have been articulated by leading organisations such as the Irish Cancer Society.

We all know that cancer is one of the most burdensome health challenges of our time and while we have made incredible scientific advances in our understanding and treatment of cancer, there are gaps in equity of access to existing treatments. The generic, biosimilar and value-added medicines industries directly and indirectly contribute to tackling uneven access to preventive measures, screening and diagnostics, treatment and life-long care.

An important checklist of key policies that must be implemented to ensure equity and quality of cancer care is achieved has been established by Medicines for Europe. They are:

  • Finding synergies and sharing best practices
  • Comprehensive uptake policies for off-patent medicines
  • EU and national cancer strategies promoting the use of off-patent medicines.
  • Removing barriers after expiry of Intellectual Property (IP)
  • Adapting EU framework to develop value added medicines.