Cancer rates are rising in developing countries, where around 65% of all cancer deaths occur. Yet many cancers are now curable – provided local healthcare systems can swiftly identify people with cancer and treat them effectively. Awareness of the growing crisis in cancer care in poorer countries is increasing as cancer care is being prioritised at a policy level, reports are also emerging of public–private initiatives to improve cancer care. The Access to Medicine Foundation has now provided a first overview of pharmaceutical company activity in this space. It has systematically mapped which pharmaceutical companies are taking action to address access to cancer care for the poor, where and for which cancers.
In this study, the Foundation describes and discusses 129 separate pricing and capacity building initiatives, matched against companies’ oncology portfolios, including whether companies are linking their initiatives to products on the WHO’s Essential Medicines List.