Global Cancer Institute (GCI) Says High Cost of Cancer Drugs in Latin America Puts Patients at Risk

Article in Cancer details challenges; cancer drugs can be more costly in Latin America than in developed countries despite drastically lower average per-capita income for patients
BOSTON - April 3, 2017 - PRLog -- Global Cancer Institute (GCI), the only non-profit completely focused on improving survival rates for underserved cancer patients worldwide, announced today that it has published a new article in the journal Cancer detailing the disproportionately high cost of cancer drugs in Latin America, its impact on patients, and possible solutions to address the problem.

Despite a lower incidence of cancer compared with the United States and Europe, cancer mortality rates in Latin America are 69 percent higher. The all-cancer mortality-to-incidence ratio for Latin America is 0.59, compared with 0.35 in the United States. This gap is driven largely by more advanced stage of disease at initial presentation, as well as barriers to access to care.

Some additional statistics that further illustrate the gap between Latin America and developed countries as it relates to cancer detection and treatment:

–       On average, the percentage of Latin American GDP devoted to health is 7.7 percent, compared with 18 percent in the United States.

–       The overall mean expenditure per new cancer patient in the region is US $7.92, compared with US $183, US $244, and US $460 spent by the United Kingdom, Japan, and the United States, respectively.

In fact, GCI researchers have found that many effective cancer drugs are not available at all in Latin American countries, and when they are available, they are often not covered by public insurance – meaning, in effect, they are only accessible to the very wealthy. In addition, the cost for these drugs can be even higher in Latin American countries than in developed countries, such as the United Kingdom.

"Innovative drugs have improved cancer outcomes significantly," said Dr. Paul Goss, Director of Breast Center Research at Massachusetts General Hospital and Founder and Chairman of GCI, one of the authors of the Cancer article. "Unfortunately, their skyrocketing prices have made them prohibitively expensive for most Latin American health care systems and patients, as well as for other low- and middle-income countries."

The article's authors suggest several approaches that may help to alleviate high prices of cancer drugs in Latin America, including:

–       Collective negotiation and procurement

–       Creation of resource funds

–       Use of generics and biosimilars through flexibility of patent laws

–       Differential pricing policies

–       Participation in clinical research

To learn more, read the full article at

About Global Cancer Institute

Global Cancer Institute (GCI) is the only non-profit completely focused on improving survival rates for underserved cancer patients worldwide. Today, cancer death rates in developing countries are double that of the U.S. – GCI is working to close that gap. GCI works directly with physicians in developing countries to propagate simple interventions and treatments that are common in the U.S. and proven to accelerate diagnosis, access and treatment. Learn more about our programs or donate at www.

Michelle Faulkner
Big Swing Communications
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