Seizing the opportunity in cancer care

Seizing the opportunity in cancer care

How Industry Contributes

The Marie Curie Legacy Campaign, pioneered by the ESTRO Cancer Foundation (ECF) and ESTRO, is a global initiative to raise awareness of the benefits of radiotherapy (RT) and optimise the provision of radiotherapy in Europe and beyond.

In November 2018, a white paper was launched, calling upon policymakers to help close the gap in utilisation of radiotherapy across Europe, entitled “Radiotherapy: seizing the opportunity in cancer care”.

On behalf of the radiotherapy community, the Marie Curie Legacy Campaign hosted a policy forum to present a five-point plan to help close the gap in availability and utilisation of radiotherapy across Europe, and outline activities underpinning the ESTRO vision. This event was kindly hosted by Lieve Wierinck MEP on 31st of January 2019 at the European Parliament.

During the panel discussion, COCIR highlighted its views on  how different stakeholders can work together to address current gaps in access to radiotherapy across Europe.

RT has moved from palliation to curative treatment. This impressive development of clinical outcomes has been achieved despite a small industry sector with only a handful of companies. These opportunities are not reflected in the general healthcare system where RT only constitutes about 7% of cancer care costs, ending in a low utilization of standard treatment protocols. One example is radiotherapy for prostate cancer treatment, which was typically delivered in 39 treatments while now it can be delivered in 5-7 treatments. This obviously makes a huge difference, not only for hospital efficiency but also for patients well-being and quality of life.

There is a need to improve access to current and advanced RT. It is widely recognized that 50% of cancer patients would benefit from this technology.

COCIR is working with its industry members to analyze the RT landscape throughout Europe and beyond. In doing this COCIR observed the following;

  1. Equipment density: big differences in number of treatment units per capita between Western and Eastern Europe
  2. Installed base*: ESMO referred to inequalities in term of availability of equipment as still today there are no RT equipment at all in 23 countries around the globe. We also need to ensure ageing equipment are properly maintained or upgraded and that personnel continues to be properly trained.
  3. Equipment capability: big differences in ability to provide advanced treatment protocols
  4. Variation on treatment access to clinical protocols based on:
  • Variation on level of training for staff
  • Variation in indications covered by reimbursement (a national responsibility)
     

COCIR Conclusions and ways to jointly address current gaps

It is critical to have a multistakeholder and multidisciplinary activities based on patient centered approach. Industry is part of the solution but, in order to maximize use of the technologies we need to work together with the continuing support of policymakers at European, national and regional level on the following:

  1. Build awareness of value-add of RT in treating cancer patients 
  2. Collect data and understand variations across Europe to facilitate reimbursement processes in various countries
  3.  Improve innovative procurement process to increase access to technologies
  4. Develop and allow new financing models sharing risks between public and private sectors (ref Managed Equipment Services)
  5. Increase mid and long term investment on supporting development of innovative technologies but also invest more on training as we observe that resources are limited
  6. Ensure that legal and regulatory processes enables 1) a vital and innovative European medtech industry and 2) ease of access to technology in Europe.

*COCIR will soon publish status on equipment density in Europe and beyond and will include information on installed base and equipment age