Prevention, early detection, quality of
life – these are the three areas, where the statutory social insurance in
Germany would like to become particularly active in order to support Europe's beating cancer plan. The challenges posed by
high-quality pharmaceutical care must also be tackled with commitment. German
Social Insurance has summarised its central ideas in a statement about Europe's beating cancer plan.
Cancer is often preventable
The EC estimates that about 40 per cent of
all cancer cases can be prevented. Every individual can do something: do not
consume tobacco, only drink alcohol in moderation, pay attention to a healthy,
balanced diet and exercise. The social insurance institutions in Germany
support those insured with them in staying healthy and they provide a wide
range of preventive services. They go into schools and companies, they educate
and provide professional support. The EU’s vaccination campaigns are financed
Control via taxes
Social security funds are hoping for a
boost from the beating cancer plan. The EU should use its leeway and work
towards lower tax rates for healthy products. Alternately, they should get
Member States to make unhealthy consumption more expensive. A consultation
about the impact assessment of the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive has already been launched. Another consultation deals with options for having harmonised
nutrition information printed on the front of food packaging. The fact that the
EC has also undertaken to scrutinise sales promotions and to examine the
effects of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive are further steps in the
right direction. Children, in particular, should be better protected from the
sometimes massive bad influences coming from the media.
Quality creates trust
German Social Insurance is optimistic about
a new cancer screening programme that will be developed in the next few years.
Early detection of cancer through organised screening programmes is to be
further developed as part of this programme. Breast, colon and cervical cancer
programmes are running well in Germany partly because their high quality can be
trusted. If organised screening programmes are to be extended to other
diagnoses, a high level of proof of their benefits must be ensured. Otherwise,
important trust would be gambled away.
Cancer can also be occupational
Occupational cancers are one of the
greatest challenges faced by occupational health screening. There is a great
need for research in this area, e.g. being exposed to ultraviolet radiation.
The accident insurance system is currently developing new approaches to the
aftercare provided for asbestos-related cancers. An essential concern of the
social insurance institutions is also enabling those affected by it to lead a
good life after the illness through the provision of specific rehabilitation;
both in professional and private respects. The EU's intention to target
retraining and continuing education programmes for reintegration into the
labour market are welcomed.
Oncology drugs – expensive and dynamic
Cancer drugs (oncology) are amongst the
drugs with the highest sales. This market segment is also particularly dynamic
and any new products usually come with a high-price. Shortcomings in European
pharmaceutical legislation have a particularly strong impact here. What is
needed here - also in view of the newer approaches to personalised medicine -
is reforming the price regulation. German Social Insurance has proposed that
the research and development costs for new medicinal products should generally
be made transparent in order to be able to track price developments. The EMA’s
authorisation procedure also needs to be further developed. Existing misguided
incentives must be corrected in the upcoming revision of the legislation on
medicinal products for rare diseases.
GSI online event that was held on 14 June 2021
Prevention, early detection and medicinal
provision were the main topics of the "Getting to grips with cancer"
joint event that was organised by the European Representation of German Social
Insurance and the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds
(GKV-Spitzenverband) and was held on 14 June 2021 from 1 pm to 2 pm. For
further information, please visit: https://dsv-europa.de/de/veranstaltungen/kampf-gegen-den-krebs.html