Regions face prospect of saving DKK 100 million a year on medicines to treat breast cancer


A new assessment from the Danish Medicines Council and a tendering procedure from Amgros means that the regions can expect future annual savings on medicines to treat breast cancer of DKK 100 million.

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23 JUNE 2020

In future, Danish regions will be able to save DKK 100 mill. annually on medicines to treat ER+/HER2- locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer, with no impairment in the treatment.

This is the outcome of a tendering procedure conducted by Amgros, the regions' procurement organisation, and a new medicine recommendation approved by the Danish Medicines Council. The recommendation states the medicines the Danish Medicines Council recommends as first, second and third choice to treat this type of breast cancer.

The recommendation and the tendering procedure come after the Danish Medicines Council ranked three different medicines as equal for treating ER+/HER2- breast cancer in May 2020 The Council assessed that all three were equally good to treat the disease in terms of their effect and side-effects. Amgros also prepared an expanded basis for comparison, which, among other things, describes the personnel and examination costs linked to using the three medicines.

After this, Amgros held a tendering procedure, in which the companies behind the three equal medicines were invited to submit a tender for their product for Danish patients. The tenders received are confidential, but the companies have all reduced the prices of their medicines.
Up to now, the regions have been spending DKK 190 million a year on the treatment. After the tendering procedure, costs for the same treatment have dropped to about DKK 90 million. The savings assume that the number patients with this type breast cancer remains the same.

“The Danish Medicines Council has assessed that the medicines are clinically equal, so patients can feel safe when we choose the cheapest. This also means we can consider other patients in the healthcare sector,” said Steen Werner Hansen, Chairman of the Danish Medicines Council. He shares the chairmanship with Jørgen Schøler Kristensen.

Amgros CEO, Flemming Sonne, is also pleased with the process:
"This shows that the Medicines Council / Amgros model really works. Ranking the medicines equal in terms of effect means we have created competition for the medicines which would otherwise not exist. This saves the regions money that can be used on treatments for other patients. So we’re constantly finding more cost-effective health solutions,” said Flemming Sonne.

Read the recommendation from the Danish Medicines Council and treatment guidelines concerning CDK4/6-inhibitors for ER+/HER2- locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer here.

FACTS ABOUT ER+/HER2- BREAST CANCER

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women in Denmark, and it is most common in women over 50. The disease can be divided into four sub-types depending on whether the cancer cells are hormone-sensitive, i.e. whether they express oestrogen receptors (ER) and/or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).

In Denmark, around 3,300 patients are diagnosed annually with ER+/HER2- breast cancer, i.e. the cancer cells express oestrogen receptors but not growth factor receptors.

At the time of diagnosis, patients can be divided into three groups:

  • About 90% of patients have breast cancer at a very early stage, which means that the cancer has not spread outside the chest and/or regional lymph nodes. About 20% of these patients will later suffer a locally advanced or metastatic relapse.

  • About 5% of patients have locally advanced cancer.

  • About 5% of patients have metastatic cancer.

This medicine recommendation addresses treatment of the last two groups, as well as of the 20% of patients with cancer at a very early stage who later suffer locally advanced or metastatic relapse and become candidates for treatment. This is a total of 500 patients a year.

Karen Torgny

Senior communication specialist

I’m responsible for overall communication at Amgros, including PR. And I help to ensure that we communicate with the surrounding world in an open and engaging manner.