Cancer: Better cooperation would save 1.5 million lives a year
Better cooperation on drugs could save 1.5 million lives a year, researchers say.
About 1.5 million lives would be saved each year on the planet if countries coordinated efforts to approve new cancer drugs faster, researchers said Tuesday.
This figure is based on the time it took for recent lung and prostate cancer drugs to be approved in different countries after they received the green light in the United States.
Pembrolizumab, an effective treatment for most lung cancers, was approved by the United States Medicines Agency (FDA) in 2016.
More than 600,000 years of patients' lives could have been saved if Brazil, Canada, China, India and the European Union had approved the drug at the same time, according to an analysis published Tuesday in the Harvard Business Review, not peer-reviewed.
The authors, including American oncologist Bobby Daly, also looked at enzalutamide, which is used to treat prostate cancer, the second cancer most diagnosed in men worldwide.
Approved by the FDA in 2012, it was not authorized in China for the next seven years, in part due to the requirement to conduct separate trials there.
Analysis by members of the Bloomberg New Economy International Cancer Coalition found that 284,000 patient life-years could have been saved if other major countries had approved the drug alongside the FDA.
Extrapolating from their findings on the two treatments, the researchers estimated that if each of the approximately seven cancer drugs approved each year by the FDA were approved in worldwide, it would reduce the number of cancer-related deaths by 10-20%.
That's about 1.5 million of the estimated 10 million people who die of cancer each year.
It's hard to see that when a drug is approved in the United States, it will take years to be able to prescribe it to my patients, testified to AFP Mary Gospodarowicz, member of the Bloomberg New Economy International Cancer Coalition.