Low Access to Breast Cancer Drugs in Eastern Europe Underscores Need For Increased Health Expenditures

Low Access to Breast Cancer Drugs in Eastern Europe Underscores Need For Increased Health Expenditures

shutterstock_94874677Patients suffering from cancer have different access to drug treatments in different parts of the world, according to two new research projects recently presented at the ESMO 2014 Congress in Madrid, Spain. In particular, Europeans suffering from breast cancer and living in the Eastern part of the continent have the least amount of access to therapy.

As an example, a study led by Felipe Ades Moraes from Institut Jules Bordet in Brussels, Belgium revealed that in Eastern Europe, patients have more difficulties in receiving the HER2 positive breast cancer-targeted drug trastuzumab than breast cancer patients in Western Europe and the US, which the author believes relates directly to discrepancies in the survival rate.

"The development of trastuzumab is considered to be one of the greatest improvements in breast cancer treatment in recent years," explained Ades Moraes about the drug. tTrastuzumab was approved in 1998 and is used for the treatment of patients with breast cancer and HER-2 positive tumors, which account for about 20% of the cases.

"But we found that there were significant differences in trastuzumab procurement between countries in Western Europe, the USA and Eastern Europe and that these differences could be partially related to discrepancies in cancer survival between these region
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