BJMO - volume 17, issue 6, october 2023
M. Piccart MD, PhD, J. Vansteenkiste MD, PhD, H. Prenen MD, PhD, F. Duhoux MD, PhD, A. Janssens MD, PhD, M. Delforge MD, PhD, A. Awada MD, PhD, P. Neven MD, PhD, A. Sibille MD, B. Neyns MD, PhD
The oncological treatment landscape is evolving at a very rapid pace with a continuous stream of novel treatment options. To fully leverage these therapeutic advances in clinical practice it is important to facilitate a rapid access to innovative anticancer drugs for patients. Specifically for Belgium, the delay from EMA approval to reimbursement for anticancer drugs is very long, with an average of almost 600 days, and a substantial proportion of innovative drugs never make it to the patient. The stringent focus of the Belgian Commission for Reimbursement of Medicines (CRM) on overall survival (OS) data in reimbursement decisions is believed to be an important contributor to this situation. However, the ever-increasing pace at which new anticancer therapies are being developed in combination with an earlier detection of cancer will make it increasingly difficult to present mature OS data at the time of regulatory approval in the years to come. As such, there is an urgent need for a debate with the regulators to consider more readily available endpoints in their reimbursement assessments. In fact, when a strong treatment effect is seen on an intermediate endpoint such as disease-free or progression-free survival, a benefit in OS is quite likely. As such, our reimbursement system needs to be adapted to better align with the scientific progress in oncology. In this, a temporary reimbursement decision based on intermediate endpoints could give Belgian patients earlier access to promising lifesaving medicines. In this, we as oncologists, including specialists in haematology, respiratory oncology, and gastrointestinal cancer, strongly encourage the CRM to use the grading provided by the ESMO magnitude of clinical benefit scale to evaluate the clinical added value of future cancer treatments. This will not only facilitate a faster patient access to innovative therapies, but will also help policy-makers in advancing ‘accountability for reasonableness’ in their resource allocation deliberations.
(BELG J MED ONCOL 2023;17(6):211–5)Read more
BJMO - volume 8, issue 2, may 2014
R. A. Popescu , R. Schäfer , R. Califano , R. Eckert , R. Coleman , J.-Y. Douillard , A. Cervantes , P. G. Casali , C. Sessa , E. van Cutsem MD, PhD, E. de Vries , N. Pavlidis MD, PhD, K. Fumasoli , B. Wörmann , H. Samonigg , S. Cascinu , J. J. Cruz Hernández , A. J. Howard , F. Ciardiello , R. A. Stahel , M. Piccart MD, PhD
The number of cancer patients in Europe is rising and significant advances in basic and applied cancer research are making the provision of optimal care more challenging. The concept of cancer as a systemic, highly heterogeneous and complex disease has increased the awareness that quality cancer care should be provided by a multidisciplinary team (MDT) of highly qualified healthcare professionals. Cancer patients also have the right to benefit from medical progress by receiving optimal treatment from adequately trained and highly skilled medical professionals. Built on the highest standards of professional training and continuing medical education, medical oncology is recognised as an independent medical specialty in many European countries. Medical oncology is a core member of the MDT and offers cancer patients a comprehensive and systemic approach to treatment and care, while ensuring evidence-based, safe and cost-effective use of cancer drugs and preserving the quality of life of cancer patients through the entire ‘cancer journey’. Medical oncologists are also engaged in clinical and translational research to promote innovation and new therapies and they contribute to cancer diagnosis, prevention and research, making a difference for patients in a dynamic, stimulating professional environment. Medical oncologists play an important role in shaping the future of healthcare through innovation and are also actively involved at the political level to ensure a maximum contribution of the profession to Society and to tackle future challenges. This position paper summarises the multifarious and vital contributions of medical oncology and medical oncologists to today’s and tomorrow’s professional cancer care.
Reprinted from Annals of Oncology 2014;25(1):9–15 with permission of Oxford University Press.
(BELG J MED ONCOL 2014;8(2):30–7)Read more