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Parliamentary questions
3 February 2017
E-000822-17
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL)

 Subject:  Cost of cancer treatment
 Answer(s) 

The cost of generic drugs is the cost of research and development, a cost already paid, with governments paying close to the production cost. However, overcharging by global pharmaceutical companies is putting millions of lives at risk.

The costs of many cancer treatments have soared by more than 1 000% in the last 5 years.

For example, during this period, the price in GBP of Busulfan (for leukaemia) shot up from 21 pence to GBP 2.61 — a 1 142% rise. Tamoxifen (for breast cancer) went up from 10 pence to GBP 1.21 — an increase of 1 100%.

The UK Competition and Market Authority found last year that drug maker Actavis broke competition law by increasing the cost of hydrocortisone tablets from GBP 1.07 a pack to GBP 102.74 — a rise of 9 500%.

EU Member States need to take protective action against these scandalous price rises and ensure that cancer patients’ health is not jeopardised by a desire for profit.

While the UK Government is introducing a Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill to regulate prices in the future, authorities at all levels need to do more.

What is the Commission doing to help prevent global pharmaceutical corporations robbing health department budgets by preying on the suffering of cancer patients?

Last updated: 20 February 2017Legal notice