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Parliamentary questions
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4 February 2020
Question for written answer E-000633/2020
to the Commission
Rule 138
Emmanouil Fragkos (ECR)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Shortages of cancer drugs

The Hellenic Cancer Federation (ELOC) has complained that hospitals across the country are unable to supply cancer patients with the indispensable drugs they need on a regular basis. Shortages of medicines mean that treatment is being postponed, which is a cause of further anxiety for patients, detrimentally affecting their health.

According to public complaints, these shortages are purely technical in nature and intended either to exert inflationary pressure to raise prices or to force people to choose other more expensive medicines which are available. The Director of the Oncology Department of Venizelos Hospital in Crete has gone on public record stating that the medicines in question are older, cheap medicines which are not imported into Greece by the pharmaceutical companies and as a result very often cancer patients and the doctors are ‘left in the lurch’. More specifically, for the last month Venizelos Hospital has been unable to meet the needs of cancer patients.

In view of the above, will the Commission say:

1. How does the EU protect European citizens who are fighting for their lives against cancer?

2. What steps is it taking to ensure the necessary availability of medicines and to combat market leverage by pharmaceutical companies?

3. To what extent have drugs shortages become an EU-wide issue? Is this situation being centrally managed and monitored in the EU?

Original language of question: EL
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