Background: Globally, cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality. High treatment cost, partly owing to higher prices of anti-cancer drugs, presents a significant burden on patients and healthcare systems. The aim of the present study was to survey and compare retail prices of anti-cancer drugs between high, middle and low income countries in the South-East Asia, Western Pacific and Eastern Mediterranean regions. Methods: Cross-sectional survey design was used for the present study. Pricing data from ten counties including one from South-East Asia, two from Western Pacific and seven from Eastern Mediterranean regions were used in this study. Purchasing power parity (PPP)-adjusted mean unit prices for 26 anti-cancer drug presentations (similar pharmaceutical form, strength, and pack size) were used to compare prices of anti-cancer drugs across three regions. A structured form was used to extract relevant data. Data were entered and analysed using Microsoft Excel®. Results: Overall, Taiwan had the lowest mean unit prices while Oman had the highest prices. Six (23.1%) and nine (34.6%) drug presentations had a mean unit price below US$100 and between US$100 and US$500 respectively. Eight drug presentations (30.7%) had a mean unit price of more than US$1000 including cabazitaxel with a mean unit price of $17,304.9/vial. There was a direct relationship between income category of the countries and their mean unit price; low-income countries had lower mean unit prices. The average PPP-adjusted unit prices for countries based on their income level were as follows: low middle-income countries (LMICs): US$814.07; high middle income countries (HMICs): US$1150.63; and high income countries (HICs): US$1148.19. Conclusions: There is a great variation in pricing of anticancer drugs in selected countires and within their respective regions. These findings will allow policy makers to compare prices of anti-cancer agents with neighbouring countries and develop policies to ensure accessibility and affordability of anti-cancer drugs.
- Department of Pharmacy - Professor in Medicines and Healthcare
- School of Applied Sciences
- Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice Research Centre - Director