One of the most comprehensive reports comparing the use of medicines in the UK with that in other countries has been published today by the Department of Health. The report shows that the UK still lags behind comparable countries in Europe and elsewhere on its use of newer cancer treatments and medicines for chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and dementia.
For the uptake of cancer medicines fewer than five years old, the figures show that the UK’s average ranking out of 14 countries worldwide is 12, above only Canada and New Zealand – and is therefore the worst amongst comparable European countries.
However the UK fares better in the prescribing of medicines for the prevention of death from cardiovascular disease.
“The statistics demonstrate that in general the UK continues to lag behind other European countries in our use of innovative medicines in some major disease areas.” said Alison Clough, ABPI Director of Commercial and Communications.
“Clearly patients, such as those suffering from cancer, are not benefiting as they should. We welcome the new Government’s recognition of the need to improve access to innovative medicines and the launch of an interim fund for cancer medicines.”
“It is really important that continued steps are taken to tackle the causes of variation, not just for cancer but for other conditions as well. We have a strong heritage in medicines research and development and yet patients are not always seeing the benefits quickly enough. Sustaining the rapid adoption of new medicines is important to promote continued research and development. Steps to ensure patients receive appropriate medicines need to be part of the implementation of the reforms in the NHS.”
The figures are published in the report entitled Extent and Causes of International Variation in Drug Usage, which looks at a total of 11 disease areas. The report shows that the UK lags well behind comparator countries in the provision of medicines for atypical antipsychotics, dementia, hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as cancer; while it does well in the provision of medicines for acute myocardial infarction (heart attacks) and stroke.
For further information, please contact the ABPI press office: 020 7747 1410.