Slovakia lags behind its neighbors: Oncology patients will get only a small part of innovative medicines in our country
The oncology patient in Slovakia will only get access to the third innovative drugs. She alerted us to the Association of the Innovative Pharmaceutical Industry (AIFP).
According to her, only 32 percent of innovative medicines registered by the European Medicines Agency are covered by public health insurance. (EMA) after 2011. The situation is to be changed by the amendment to the Act on the scope and conditions of reimbursement of medicines, notified by the Ministry (MZ) SR.
According to the association’s analysis, the rate of entry of new oncological drugs into the standard reimbursement from public health insurance has been low in Slovakia for a long time. In this context, the AIFP noted that only four innovative medicines had entered the scheme between February 2021 and February 2022. “In the same period, for example, eight new standard-paid medicines were added in Slovenia and nine in Romania. There were seven in the Czech Republic,” said Iveta Pálešová, the association’s executive director.
According to her, we also lag behind neighboring countries in the availability of modern therapy in each of the three most common oncological diagnoses, ie lung, breast and colon cancer. The analysis also showed that in Slovakia there are still oncological diseases that are not standardly available, not a single innovative drug. These include cancers of the bladder, esophagus or pancreas.
The AIFP considers the parallel combination of strict regulations as well as uncontrollable long and complicated drug approval processes in Slovakia to be the main reasons for the unavailability of innovative medicines. According to Pálešová, a change in legislation or co-financing of the system could help. “If the necessary changes are implemented, the situation may improve in the coming years,” she added.
To improve the situation, the Ministry of Health prepared an amendment to the Act on the scope and conditions of reimbursement of medicines, medical devices and dietetic foods on the basis of public health insurance. It was approved in the National Council of the Slovak Republic at first reading. “We expect that with the adoption of this law, innovative medicines will become more accessible to Slovak patients and will be provided with the most appropriate and modern treatment, as well as patients in other EU countries.” added Petra Lániková, a spokeswoman for the ministry, for TASR.