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18 July, 2024
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Cyprus lags in access to cutting-edge medicines

Government overhaul sparks outcry as patients wait years for innovative treatments

Newsroom / CNA

Cyprus falls behind in patient access to innovative medicines compared to other EU and EEA countries, ranking 23rd out of 36 nations, according to a survey by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).

The Cyprus Association of Pharmaceutical Research and Development Companies (KEFEA) highlighted significant disparities in access times across Europe. Patients wait an average of 126 days in Germany but up to 804 days in Poland, with the EU average at 531 days.

In Cyprus, the average time from approval to availability for innovative medicines is 577 days, and some treatments can take as long as 1,800 days, a situation matched only by Hungary and Serbia.

Of the 167 innovative medicines approved by European authorities during the study period, only 31% (52 medicines) are available in Cyprus. In contrast, Germany leads with access to 147 of the approved medicines.

KEFEA raised concerns that only 4% of the innovative medicines available in Cyprus are provided without restrictions, compared to 99% in Germany. Special procedures, often limiting access, apply to 96% of these medicines through ad hoc processes or the Nominal Requests Committee.

Specialized drugs for rare diseases are particularly affected, typically accessible only through restricted means like the Designated Requests Committee, and none have been fully integrated into the compensation system.

KEFEA expressed serious concerns about recent government decisions to overhaul committee operations, fearing these changes could further hinder patient access to new treatments, complicating efforts five years into the National Health Scheme (GeSY) rollout without resolving existing challenges.

Cyprus  |  health

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