UK researchers call for better access to cancer drug trials

26th April 2019 (Last Updated April 30th, 2019 04:55)

UK researchers call for better access to cancer drug trials
Providing trial access to all cancer patients who are willing to participate is expected to accelerate development of new treatments. Credit: freestocks.org on Unsplash.

Researchers at Institute of Cancer Research, London (ICR) have published a manifesto to drive access to cancer drugs after a survey found patient delays for new therapies.

The survey of 1,064 people revealed that around 50% of patients who tried to enrol in clinical trials of new drugs were not able to participate, while nearly 16% were denied or had delay in receiving a prescribed drug.

ICR’s ten-point manifesto includes a call for offering incentives to rival pharmaceutical companies for assessing a combination of their drugs in clinical trials.

Providing trial access to all cancer patients who are willing to participate is expected to accelerate development of new treatments as well as provide better care.

The non-profit organisation also suggested expansion of paediatric trials and flexibility on age limits to enable broader access by involving older children and young adults.

ICR Cancer Therapeutics head Raj Chopra said: “We need to see all cancer patients reap the benefits of research through access to innovative treatments, irrespective of what cancer they have, how old they are or where they live in the country. It’s only by encouraging innovation that we can make big leaps forward in treating those forms of cancer that have so far missed out on major progress.

“It’s essential too that we ensure all cancer patients have access to suitable clinical trials – and that we greatly expand efforts to discover and develop new drugs for children with cancer, so that they can start to benefit from the same kinds of advances we have seen in adults.”

In addition, the manifesto asks for better action from the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and more flexible review by regulators authorities.

Majority of the survey respondents consider high prices as a major hindrance to access new cancer drugs, with 70% saying that the costs set by drugmakers were ‘much too high’.

ICR said that cuts in the high prices of new cancer medications may address this challenge.