• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
French cancer docs blast greed of drugs companies
The French doctors the pharmaceutical industry is making 'obscene profits'. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP

French cancer docs blast greed of drugs companies

The Local · 15 Mar 2016, 14:24

Published: 15 Mar 2016 14:24 GMT+01:00

In an open letter published in the French daily Le Figaro, 110 cancer specialists from some of the country’s most respected institutions, including the Institut Curie, Institut Gustave Roussy and Collège de France, slammed the rising costs of cancer treatments in both France and the rest of the world.

Despite many cancer cures being on the horizon, “the increasing, and now even exorbitant, prices are jeopardizing these hopes,” the doctors wrote, adding the hikes were “unjustified”.

France is respected for its successes in treating different sorts of cancers, but the trend of rising drug costs could prevent people from having equal and just access to proper treatment, they said.

“The bubble is about to explode,” Professor Jean-Paul Vernant, the ex-president of France’s national institute of cancer and one of the authors of the letter, warned, pointing to “the obscene profits of the pharmaceutical industry”.

Unless changes are made, France could end up in a similar situation as the United States, the doctors warn.

In the US, the cancer treatment drug imatinib, also known as Glivec, is more than twice as expensive than it is in France, at a cost of around $8,400 per month (€7,500).

Despite the high prices, less than 15 percent of the profits made are re-invested into more research, they said, calling for a more democratic and transparent process in deciding the costs of cancer treatment drugs.

Earlier this year, a French study showed that the survival rates among sufferers of the most common cancers in France - breast, prostate and colorectal cancers - have improved significantly in the past few years.

The stats were taken from a comparison of two separate five-year blocks - 1989 to 1993 and 2005 to 2010.

When it came to prostate cancer, the most common cancer to affect French men, the study showed that the survival rate had jumped from 72 to 94 percent.

Breast cancer, which remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among French women, also saw improved survival rates, from 80 percent to 87 percent.

Story continues below…

Lastly, colorectal cancer survival rates improved from 54 to 63 percent over the period.

The improvements were put down to "major therapeutic advances" in the early 2000s, and a higher proportion of cancers detected at an early stage thanks to improved screening practices.

The latest statistics from France's National Cancer Institute, from 2012, show that France had 57,000 new cases of prostate cancer each year, 48,000 reports of breast cancer, and 42,000 cases of colorectal cancers.

 

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Opinion
'France has problems but it's not on brink of civil war'
A French police officer stands in front of a Muslim prayer room after it was destroyed by a fire, suspected to be arson, in Ajaccio.. Photo: AFP

While certain French politicians and security chiefs have openly talked of the nightmare prospect of civil war in France, one expert tells The Local the country is too resolute to go down that path.

What's on: Ten cool things to do in France in August 2016
Photo: AFP

August is almost here - and we've got you covered for events.

Paris in August: Should you stay or should you go now?
Photo: AFP

When it comes to August in Paris, you're either a stayer or a goer. But which is the best choice?

French PM: 'France needs new relationship with Islam'
Photo: AFP

As France struggles to get to grips with an increasing number of terror attacks the French PM says the country needs a new relationship with Islam.

France's Muslims urged to attend mass in solidarity
Photo: AFP

A leading Muslim group in France has called on its community to attend a church mass this Sunday to show solidarity with Christians after the recent jihadist killing of a priest.

Hopes hit as France reports 'disappointing' zero growth
Photo: AFP

Hopes of small economic growth in France were hit on Friday when the latest GDP figures were announced.

Air France strike affects 30,000 passengers each day
Photo: AFP

The week-long Air France cabin crew strike continued on Friday with some 30,000 passengers hit by cancellations each day.

Mother of French priest killer left stunned and in denial
Photo: AFP

French police have formally identified the second attacker who killed a priest in northern France on Tuesday. And his mother has said he was her "gentle child".

Johnson hails France in Paris (while speaking French)
French Foreign Minister Jean Marc Ayrault (R) shakes hands with Britain's Foreign Minister Boris Johnson (L). Photo: AFP

VIDEO: A British Foreign Minister who speaks French. Fancy that.

Should you really go to the Bayonne Festival?
A bullfighter and a crowd at this year's festival. Photo: AFP

Should people boycott the Bayonne festival in France because it features bullfighting? Many think so.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
France: A timeline of terror since the Charlie Hebdo attack
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
A timeline of terror in France since Charlie Hebdo
Culture
Thirteen free and easy ways to learn French
Culture
32 mistakes foreigners make when they arrive in France
National
Here are the worst scams to avoid whilst driving in France
Analysis & Opinion
Isis can simply be a conduit for the violent desires of psychopaths
Features
Six outdoor bars in Paris you simply must visit
Culture
The open-air Villette cinema has been cancelled over security fears
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Culture
Henri Rousseau exhibition proves huge hit in Paris
National
Frenchman caught trying to sell Nice massacre souvenirs online
Society
OPEN NOW: Here's why you should head to the Paris Plages
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
What's on in France: Still plenty to see and do in July
Lifestyle
Treasures of Versailles to go on display in Australia
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Nice attack: What we know so far
National
Nice attacker: Body-building, drug-taking, violent flirt
National
IN IMAGES: Drawings in tribute to Nice attack victims
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Promenade des Anglais: The iconic heart of the French Riviera
France faces more questions after latest deadly attack
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Why is France the target of choice for jihadist attacks?
National
Nice truck attack: 'Bodies went flying like bowling pins'
Nice attack: Families of missing make pleas on Twitter
Politics
Boris Johnson cheered and booed at Bastille Day party
2,757
jobs available