2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Time to reimbursement (TTR) of new anticancer medicines differs between countries and contributes to unequal access. We aimed to investigate TTR of new anticancer medicines and explore factors influencing the reimbursement process in seven high-income European countries. Materials and methods: We carried out a retrospective case study of anticancer medicines with European Union Market Access (EU-MA) and a positive Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use opinion from 2016 until 2021 with subsequent national reimbursement approval (NRA). The National Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and reimbursement websites of Germany, France, UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and Switzerland were used to identify TTR, defined as time from EU-MA to NRA. Additionally, we investigated medication-, country-, indication- and pharma-related factors potentially influencing TTR. Results: Thirty-five medicines were identified for which TTR ranged from -81 days to 2320 days (median 407 days). At data cut-off, 16 (46%) were reimbursed in all seven countries. Overall, the shortest TTR was in Germany (median 3 days, all medicines reimbursed <5 days). The time limit for reimbursement of 180 days stated by the Council of European Communities after the EU-MA (EU Transparency Directive) was met for 100% of included medicines in Germany, 51% in France, 29% in the UK and the Netherlands, 14% in Switzerland, 6% in Norway and 3% in Belgium. The TTR was significantly different between countries (P < 0.001). In multivariate analysis, factors associated with shorter TTR were higher gross domestic product (GDP), absence of a pre-assessment procedure and submission by a big pharmaceutical company. Conclusions: TTR of anticancer medicines varies significantly between seven high-income European countries and leads to inequality in access. Among explored medication-, country-, indication- and pharma-related factors we found that a high GDP, the absence of a pre-assessment procedure and submission by big pharmaceutical companies were associated with shorter TTR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101208
JournalESMO open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • anticancer medicines
  • drug access
  • inequality
  • regulatory approval
  • reimbursement

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