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Despite all the efforts done so far, access to essential drugs in oncology is still asymmetric. In this podcast, Teresa Amaral, member of the ESMO Young Oncologists Committee, interviews Professor Martine Piccart (Scientific Director of the Institut Jules Bordet, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium), who shares valuable insights on the work that has been done on this field by the ESMO-MCBS group.
The idea behind this working group derived from acknowledging that access to cancer therapies was extremely variable in the European countries. Starting from there, the group developed a scale to assess the magnitude of clinical benefit from new cancer therapies already approved by the European Medicines Agency, allowing recognition of those that ought to be timely available to all European citizens.
This scale can be applied in two different settings: the curative and the non-curative settings. Although initially developed to evaluate therapies approved for solid cancers, it has recently been used in haematological malignancies, where it has also been shown to be applicable and performing similarly.
The ESMO-MCBS can be used in daily practice by medical doctors and residents to understand the added value of one particular drug, by pharmaceutical companies when designing clinical trials and by patients, aiding them to better understand what to expect from a particular therapy, particularly in terms of quality of life.
The ESMO-MCBS has been incorporated in the ESMO guidelines, giving an extra boost to the applicability of this tool, but also increasing the necessity of keeping the evaluations up to date, this being one of the focus of the future activities of this group.
More information on the ESMO Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale: Scale Evaluation Forms V.1.0 and V.1.1 can be found online (https://www.esmo.org/Guidelines/ESMO-MCBS/Scale-Evaluation-Forms-v1.0-v1.1).
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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