Medication reimbursement for children with cancer
When a child is diagnosed with cancer, it is one of the worst things that can happen to a family. And the situation becomes even more difficult if urgently needed medicines and additional therapies are not always paid for by the health insurance companies or are only paid for after a great deal of bureaucracy. Affected parents thus find themselves in an extremely stressful situation which causes them to feel extremely unsure of themselves and can reduce the chances of their child recovering. Childhood Cancer Switzerland is thus actively committed at a political level to combating this inequality in treatment, demanding better cost coverage for all drugs and medication for children with cancer.
In September, the Federal Council made a rather surprising announcement, saying it saw no need for action on the reimbursement for cancer drugs for children. This decision was based on an FOPH report which stated that in the field of paediatric oncology almost 100 per cent of costs are covered. This statement is a clear contradiction of what paediatric oncologists and affected parents experience in their everyday lives. Childhood Cancer Switzerland thus met the coordinators of the report at the Federal Parliament to explain the difficulties families and paediatric oncologists are regularly faced with and thus reveal the weaknesses of the report. For example, it has become apparent that the statement on a reimbursement rate of almost 100% was based on just eight responses from more than fifty health insurance companies in Switzerland.
At the same time, Childhood Cancer Switzerland both described the challenges faced in the area of cost coverage and made corresponding proposals for improvement within the framework of its statement on the current amendment of the Ordinance on Health Insurance (KVV) in September. These include the costs of all standard treatments in paediatric oncology being covered automatically, the involvement of paediatric oncology experts in the assessment of complex cases as well as better cost coverage of all supportive therapies. These demands are supported by all hospitals in Switzerland which specialise in treating children with cancer.
Childhood Cancer Switzerland also succeeded in engaging leading media such as the Swiss Television, NZZ, NZZ am Sonntag and Le Temps to publicise this significant issue and thus sensitise the general public and decision-makers to the urgent need for action. Furthermore, important alliances could be established with other partners from the health sector to jointly draw attention to the negative consequences of the current amendment. Find out more about the media response here.