Komorebi Post – According to the National Institute of Cancer, in France, cancer is the first cause of mortality, with 150 thousand deaths in 2017. The same year, nearly 400 thousand cases were declared. The most common types of cancer; lung, prostate, breast, colon and skin.

Social and health insurance

Thanks to the social insurance available to its citizens, treatment of cancer doesn’t cost much for patients. Under the principle of egalitarianism, social insurance in France manages to give every patients treatment of quality. The constant number of new cancer each year feeds a market in demands of innovative drugs. Few doctors try to raise an attention on the excessive increase of new treatments, like drugs from Novartis and Gilead. In France, professor Thierry Phillip, president of the Institute Curie, an association dedicated on the research of cancer, asks for a consultation between professionals, patients industrials and the State, to reach an agreement to keep equality of treatments. Otherwise, the social insurance might get unbalanced and patients less fortunate wouldn’t be able to get proper care, especially with an aging population.

Monique was diagnosed with a breast cancer on 2017. As soon as the cancer had been diagnosed, she got appointments with oncologist, cancer center, planning with chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy. Living in Corsica, an island in the south of France, she saw doctors and took drugs brought from the continent. Now that the treatment is over, Monique gets follow up appointments every 4 to 6 months, and medication to prevent relapse.

I don’t have any idea on how much the treatment could have cost, but I guess it was a fortune. We are really lucky to have this health system. Chemotherapy, with its side effects, was hard, but doctors made sure I was alright, proposing psychological sessions and even hypnosis sessions, paid by the social insurance”.

So far, the generous French social insurance helps cancer patients, who, like Monique, benefit from the basic treatment therapy provided. But the market privileges new advanced treatments for the ones that can pay. Last January, two new drugs were available for Cancer patients manufactured by known pharmaceutic groups; Novartis and Gilead, who developed injections that can disperse inside cancerous cells to cure them. According to Les Echos newspaper, one injection price is around 350 thousand euros.

The cancer industry is a multi-billion market that helps to improve the quality of patient lives. The industry has experienced considerable advancement in terms of diagnoses and treatment, Research on cancer has developed through many different channels. Universities, hospitals and public interest institutes are working on therapies that can help cure the cancer, but also make sure it won’t appear again. Last 4th of February, local newspaper La Tribune has shown the process of research group, gathering hospitals, universities and research centers in the East and South East of France, in the development of the immunotherapy, a method to boost the immune system and help it to fight cancerous cells with an estimated cost of 6 million euros, according to the same source. Additionally,  public awareness is increasing for cancerous environments related to particular professions, the ARC (Foundation for Research on Cancer ) documents that it’s the reason behind 4 to 8 percent of the total cases. Despite these impressive numbers, the rate of survival has also increased, patients have more and more chances to go through the process of cure.

Drugs are usually developed by pharmaceutical groups, such as Novartis and Gilead. But we go to a different scale: these groups are multinational, able to start from researching a prototype drug to its mass production. Budget are more consequent, considered to R&D in an industrial fashion. Countries, and more essentially western countries, are considered as markets to sell the drugs for patients. Development of the pharmaceutical business helped cancer patients (in the West) to get quality drugs, from different choices of pain killers, in the process of healing.

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