The time to act is now

Shortages of inexpensive essential cancer medicines is a growing emergency in Europe, although the size of the problem is still uncertain as data are lacking. ESMO is at the forefront in order to drive concerted and collaborative action. A call to action was launched last April as the issue cannot be tackled by countries individually and establishing a strong European leadership is crucial.

Shortages of essential cancer medicines have a direct impact on patient care. For example, a delay or complete inability to provide chemotherapy as a result of shortages can have significant consequences for patient outcomes, including survival rates. In April 2019, ESMO collaborated with the European Parliament to organise a cross-partisan event entitled ‘Shortages of Inexpensive, Essential Medicines: Calling for Tangible Political Commitments in the EU’ to ensure this issue remains a top priority on the EU policy agenda. A call to action was launched with recommendations and key steps for the 2019–2024 legislative cycle.

ESMO’s ‘Call to Action’ with recommendations and key steps to address cancer medicine shortages in Europe

Here we hear two different perspectives on medicines shortages: from a national society for medical oncology and from a patient advocate on the situation in their country, the proactive actions they are taking, and how they are implementing the ESMO recommendations.

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