Variation in the prices of oncology medicines across Europe and the implications for the future

Brian Godman*, Steven Simoens, Amanj Kurdi, Gisbert Selke, John Yfantopoulos, Andrew Hill, Jolanta Gulbinovi, Antony P. Martin, Angela Timoney, Dzintars Gotham, Janet Wale, Tomasz Bochenek, Iva Selke Krulichová, Eleonora Allocati, Iris Hoxha, Admir Malaj, Christian Hierländer, Anna Nachtnebel, Wouter Hamelinck, Zornitza MitkovaGuenka Petrova, Ott Laius, Catherine Sermet, Irene Langner, Roberta Joppi, Arianit Jakupi, Elita Poplavska, Ieva Greiciute-Kuprijanov, Patricia Vella Bonanno, J. F. Piepenbrink, Vincent de Valk, Robert Plisko, Magdalene Wladysiuk, Vanda Markovi, Ileana Mardare, Tanja Novakovic, Mark Parker, Jurij Fürst, Dominik Tomek, Katarina Banasova, Mercè Obach Cortadellas, Corrine Zara, Caridad Pontes, Maria Juhasz-Haverinen, Peter Skiold, Stuart McTaggart, Durhane Wong-Rieger, Stephen Campbell, Ruaraidh Hill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction/Objectives: Health authorities are facing increasing challenges to the sustainability of their healthcare systems because of the growing expenditures on medicines, including new, high-priced oncology medicines, and changes in disease prevalence in their ageing populations. Medicine prices in European countries are greatly affected by the ability to negotiate reasonable prices. Concerns have been expressed that prices of patented medicines do not fall sufficiently after the introduction of lower-cost generic oncology medicines. The objective of this study was to examine the associations over time in selected European countries between the prices of oral oncology medicines, population size, and gross domestic product (GDP) before and after the introduction of generic versions. Evidence of periodic reassessments of the price, value, and place in treatment of these medicines was also looked for. The goal of this review was to stimulate debate about possible improvements in approaches to reimbursement negotiations. Methodology: Analysis was performed of reimbursed prices of three oral oncology medicines (imatinib, erlotinib and fludarabine) between 2013 and 2017 across Europe. Correlations were explored between GDP, population size, and prices. Findings were compared with previous research regarding prices of generic oral oncology medicines. Results: The prices of imatinib, erlotinib and fludarabine varied among European countries, and there was limited price erosion over time in the absence of generics. There appeared to be no correlation between population size and price, but higher prices of on-patent oral cancer medicines were seen among countries with higher GDP per capita. Conclusion: Limited price erosion for patented medicines contributed to increases in oncology medicine budgets across the region. There was also a concerning lack of evidence re-assessments of the price, value, and place in treatment of patented oncology medicines following the loss of patent protection of standard medicines. The use of such proactive re-assessments in negotiating tactics might positively impact global expenditures for oncology medicines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-82
Number of pages11
JournalGaBI Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Europe
  • cancer
  • cross-national
  • generics
  • health policy
  • pricing


Dive into the research topics of 'Variation in the prices of oncology medicines across Europe and the implications for the future'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this