(Bloomberg) — Even among countries with curbs on drug prices, the costs of cancer treatments vary widely, researchers wrote in the Lancet Oncology journal.
New Zealanders pay almost five times what Australians do for Eli Lilly & Co.’s Gemzar, used to treat breast, lung, pancreatic and ovarian cancers, according to the study of publicly available pricing information from 18 countries. In Germany, Merck & Co.’s Intron A for skin and blood cancers costs triple what it does in Greece, the researchers found.
That variation is likely to continue as some countries cut their own confidential deals with drugmakers. Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Italy have gotten discounts on cancer medicines through such agreements. Those discounts aren’t disclosed, so countries that set reimbursements based on what their neighbors pay — a practice called price referencing — may be missing out, the researchers said.