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Political decisions harming cancer treatment in Europe
Date:9/24/2007

Barcelona, Spain: Recent political decisions have had serious consequences for European oncology, said Professor John Smyth at ECCO 14, the European Cancer Conference, today (Monday 24 September 2007). Professor Smyth, President of the Federation of European Cancer Societies (FECS) said that the new European CanCer Organisation (ECCO) would take an active role in engaging with policymakers to ensure that future legislation did not have a similarly negative impact.

Professor Smyth cited the Clinical Trials Directive and the recent Directive on Physical Agents (Electromagnetic Fields) as two examples of legislation that had had a major negative impact on oncology in Europe. In the first, the academic oncology community woke up too late and found that the administrative and financial burden of running clinical trials had increased to the extent that many simply gave up, he said. Now the Directive on Electromagnetic Fields looks as though it may stop all MRI scanning in Europe. We simply cannot continue to bury our heads in the sand on these issues, which affect doctors and patients alike.

Forthcoming topics of concern were the problems of international collaboration on stem cell research where European countries had widely differing legislation, and the whole area of the escalating cost of cancer treatment. The successful development of many new anti-cancer drugs in recent years is challenging every health economic programme in Europe, said Professor Smyth. It is imperative to find ways to improve the cost effectiveness of cancer treatment in general, and particularly the use of drugs. Improving the cost effective use of medicines is a major priority for industry, politicians and the public at large.

Due to these new and improved treatments, screening, and earlier and better diagnosis, cancer patients are living longer and better lives. But how will the huge financial burden on society that this implies be met" ECCO will be asking govern
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
Federation of European Cancer Societies
Source:Eurekalert

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