Salos with the statements Adoni Georgiades: “Oncology Councils do not exist to cut drugs”

Storm of reactions has erupted after the Health Minister’s statements on Oncology Councils and cancer patients. Following the Association of Greek Oncologists Pathologists (EPOPE) followed the Greek Cancer Federation – HELLOC, which expresses its objections to the statements made by Health Minister Adoni Georgiades about cancer patients drugs. Please note that Adonis Georgiades pointed out in a speech at an event of the Panhellenic Association of Pharmacopoeia (PRF) that Oncological Councils should be activated to better control pharmaceutical expenditure, as he said, 3/4 of the oncology drugs prescribed in patients are not needed. For these data, the Minister of Health invoked a meeting he had with the Society of Medical Oncologists of Greece, which asked him – as he said – to activate Oncology Councils in hospitals. “And that is what we will do,” he noted. Pharmaceutical spending, he added, is constantly increasing and innovative treatments are extremely expensive. “If we cannot regulate pharmaceutical expenditure, in the end patients will not have drugs,” the Health Minister said. The above statements provoked strong reactions from patients and forced Mr. Adonis Georgiades on Monday (1/4) to make clarifications by speaking on a SKEI broadcast: “The drugs are not cut. What must be written will be written and what must be given given will be given. So, in no patient who needs to take a drug we don’t cut it,” he specifically stressed and added with emphasis: “As long as I’m minister, no medication will be cut on patient who needs it”. ELLOC: ‘These views are not acceptable’ Direct was the response of the Greek Cancer Federation – HELLOC, the official secondary body representing cancer patient organisations, which numbers 47 member organisations from all over Greece, advocating for all types of cancer. The existence of Oncological Councils aims to improve the therapeutic effect in cancer patients and is not linked to saving resources, patients stress. Oncology Councils and the promotion of interdisciplinaryness in cancer care, are the “Golden Rule” in dealing with cancer worldwide, point out. “The report on their activation finds us completely in agreement and we welcome the Ministry of Health’s decision and will to improve outcomes in cancer care,” they say, while stressing that interdisciplinaryity in cancer care, as expressed by the functioning of oncology boards “is a clear and inalienable right of patients with cancer across Europe and an obligation of the state, administrative support, organization and adequate staffing of oncological structures with qualified health professionals to ensure the effective functioning and evaluation of Oncology Councils”. Cancer patients, however, point out that the primary purpose of these Oncology Councils is not to contain pharmaceutical expenditure but “the best use of available therapeutic pathways to achieve optimal results for patients, but also the functioning of the health system, through which the savings of resources will eventually occur.” The treatment of the functioning of Oncology Councils “as an additional barrier to reducing pharmaceutical expenditure on cancer is clearly outside international practices and their role and is not acceptable to the oncology community”, stress in strict tones the members of ELLOC. They even call for an increase in public health spending, which falls short of the European M.O. “and remains pinned down, despite the development of our country’s economy in recent years”. Patients finally point out that new cancer cases have increased significantly over the last decade, while according to relevant studies, cancer survival has increased by 50% since 2010 due to developments and access to new innovative treatments. ELLOC: ‘These statements cause insecurity and confusion’ The Greek Cancer Federation does not share the view that cancer patients do not need the majority of the drugs prescribed to them, “unlikely we think it causes insecurity and confusion,” say the members of HELLOC. At the same time they express their undivided trust in the Association of Oncologists Pathologists of Greece (EOPE) and treating physicians, “who fight real battles in adverse conditions often, to provide the best possible options that will keep patients with cancer alive and improve the quality of life in our country.” “We agree that there is room for improvement in the care of cancer and the need to reduce waste in all sectors, but at the same time we stress the need to increase public health spending, which falls short of the European M.O. and remains frozen, despite the development of our country’s economy over the last few years,” the ELLOC stresses. Patients’ suggestions To make optimal use of available and unobstructed access for patients to new cutting-edge treatments in the next period, cancer patients and ELLO members propose among others: Establishing the implementation and compliance of therapeutic protocols, strengthening medical staff, hospital pharmacists and administrative staff Review of pharmaceutical policy responsible for serious distortions of investment in health digitisation and the use of clinical data to develop targeted policies Increase the state budget and adopt new health funding instruments (innovation fund, etc.) Development of European cancer funding programmes. By Janna Soulaki / Source: