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Pricing appraisal of anti-cancer drugs in the South East Asian, Western Pacific and East Mediterranean Region

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 15:12 authored by Salmasi, S, Lee, KS, Ming, LC, Neoh, CF, Elrggal, ME, Babar, Z-U-D, Khan, TM, Hadi, MA

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.


Publication title

BMC Cancer



Article number









School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology


Biomed Central Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2017 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the health sciences

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