The PN is urging the government to improve cancer treatment after a recent report revealed Malta had access to the lowest number of innovative medicines in the EU.
On Friday, PN MP and shadow minister for health Stephen Spiteri said that the government should prioritise patients' access to new and innovative medicine.
“Access to such medicine is a priority [for the PN], as this could lead to improving, better managing or curing the condition,” he said.
Cancer patients are especially impacted by lack of access to innovative chemotherapy, Spiteri claimed.
Very often oncologists prescribe the best treatment but this is not available through the government formulary list, Spiteri said.
As a result, patients often resort to the Malta Community Chest Fund foundation for help, he said.
The MCCF does important work but patients should not rely on charity for cancer treatment, Spiteri added.
“We believe this is not the way forward when it comes to managing cancer treatment”.
According to recent data, Malta has the lowest access to innovative medicines both through the public health service and the private sector.
A report by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and healthcare consultants (IQVIA) observed that out of the 168 pharmaceuticals that received marketing authorisation from the European Commission, only 10 were on the government formulary list on January 5.
Meanwhile, the number of new medicines accessible privately was four times as much, with 24% (40 products) only available to customers of private healthcare.
In total, more than two-thirds of the 168 new pharmaceutical products were completely unavailable in the country.
Medicines used to treat cancer were particularly affected by the lack of availability, with only one out of the 46 new products to be found in Malta this year.