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Britain worst country for providing cancer drugs

Britain is among the worst countries in the world for providing cancer patients access to new medications, scientists from the Karolinska Institute and the Stockholm School of Economics have found.

The researchers examined access to 67 cancer drugs in 25 countries and found that the UK had a "low and slow" uptake of new drugs. Austria, France, Switzerland and the US were judged to be the best regarding access to fresh treatments.

The survival rate across five years for cancer patients in Britain is 53% and 43% of women and men respectively, the study states. In France, the rate is 71%and 53% for the same groups, the figures indicate.

Clinical oncologist Dr Nils Wilking, who coproduced the study, commented: "Our report highlights that in many countries new drugs are not reaching patients quickly enough and that this is having an adverse impact on patient survival."