Better access to life-saving cancer drugs - 2024 - News - Current - Kinderkrebsschweiz

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Better access to life-saving cancer drugs

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 challenging if urgently needed medicines are not always paid for by their health insurance company or are only paid for after the family has been through a great deal of bureaucracy. Things get particularly difficult when it comes to innovative therapies that are used when a standard therapy is not working or the cancer comes back. To date, this has always been an extremely distressing situation for affected parents. Firstly because it creates a lot of uncertainty, but secondly because it could significantly reduce their child’s chances of recovery. Childhood Cancer Switzerland has campaigned tirelessly at a political level in recent years for better access to vital and innovative therapies to combat such inequality as well as a planned reform that would have made an already intolerable situation even worse. Our dedication paid off! On 1 January 2024, a new regulation came into force that in future should significantly improve the reimbursement of costs for children with cancer.

The most important achievements of the new regulation at a glance

  • Waiver of provisions that would have drastically worsened access to vital therapies for children with cancer.
  • Involvement of paediatric oncology experts in the development of a tool to better assess the benefits of a particular therapy in the field of paediatric oncology and facilitate cost coverage.
  • In the case of rare diseases for which no clinical trials are available, insurers must consult paediatric oncology experts before rejecting a treatment as well as to assess its benefits. This was not the case to date.
  • If the initial therapy does not work or there is a relapse, the costs for innovative therapy trials are initially to be borne by the drug manufacturer until a response is confirmed.

Childhood Cancer Switzerland is delighted to have made an active contribution to improving access to vital therapies for children with cancer through its political commitment.

The process will be closely monitored in order to ensure the proper implementation of the new provisions. Over the next few months, this will involve regular meetings with the FOPH and all stakeholders concerned in order to recognise difficulties at an early stage and develop solutions promptly.