Pricing of oral generic cancer medicines in 25 European countries; findings and implications

Brian Godman, Andrew Hill, Steven Simoens, Amanj Kurdi, Jolanta Gulbinovic, Antony P. Martin, Angela Timoney, Dzintars Gotham, Janet Wale, Tomasz Bochenek, Celia C. Rothe, Iris Hoxha, Admir Malaj, Christian Hierlaender, Robert Sauermann, Wouter Hamelinck, Zornitsa Mitkova, Guenka Petrova, Ott Laius, Catherine SermetIrene Langer, Gisbert W. Selke, John Yfantopoulos, Roberta Joppi, Arianit Jakupi, Elita Poplavska, Ieva Greiciute-Kuprijanov, Patricia Vella Bonanno, J. F. (Hans) Piepenbrink, Vincent de Valk, Carolin Hagen, Anne Marthe Ringerud, Robert Plisko, Magdalene Wladysiuk, Vanda Markovic-Pekovic, Natasa Grubisa, Tatjana Ponorac, Ileana Mardare, Tanja Novakovic, Mark Parker, Jurij Furst, Dominik Tomek, Merce Obach Cortadellas, Corinne Zara, Maria Juhasz-Haverinen, Peter Skiold, Stuart McTaggart, Alan Haycox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: There are appreciable concerns among European health authorities with growing expenditure on cancer medicines and issues of sustainability. The enhanced use of low-cost generics could help.

Aims: Consequently, there is a need to comprehensively document current and future arrangements regarding the pricing of generic cancer medicines across Europe, and whether these are indication specific, as well as how this translates into actual prices to provide future direction.

Methodology: Mixed-method approach with qualitative research among senior health authority personnel and their advisers. Quantitative research via health authority databases to ascertain current prices for oral cancer medicines that had lost their patent and the influence of population size and economics on prices.

Results: Twenty-five European countries participated. The research found the following issues: (a) variable approaches to the pricing of generic cancer medicines, which will continue; (b) no concerns with substitution for oral generic cancer medicines; (c) substantial price reductions versus originators for generic capecitabine (up to -93.1%), generic imatinib (up to -97.8%) and generic temozolomide (up to -80.7%). Prices for oncology medicines are not generally indication specific, and are not affected by population size although influenced by pricing approaches. There have also been price increases for some non-patented cancer medicines following manufacturer changes although now stabilizing.

Conclusion: The considerable price reductions seen for some generics means health authorities should further encourage the use of generic oncology medicines when they become available to fund increased volumes and new valued cancer medicines. Countries are also starting to address price increases for generics following changes in the manufacturer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-70
JournalGaBI Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Cancer
  • Europe
  • generic drug regulations
  • generics
  • health policy
  • pricing

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine
  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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