Catalonia will only pay for cancer drugs of last generation, which typically cost several thousand dollars, if they demonstrate superior efficacy to currently used drugs.

It is the agreement the Government yesterday that it has completed the biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and starting with a new drug for lung cancer that has demonstrated superior efficacy to other drugs despite the high price of treatment: about 3,000. If the patient does not respond to the drug with an improved, the full cost of treatment borne by the laboratory.

This is an unprecedented formula applied in Spain to other European countries and to promote the implementation of new drugs for serious diseases more effective but have a high cost. The Government will introduce this formula by a pilot of one year in which undergo this treatment to 50 patients.

"The goal is to extend this formula to other drugs in 2012," said the director of the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), Candela Street. The ICO said that this drug financing system allows patients access to better therapies, economic compensation for laboratory research to develop these treatments and the sustainability of the system, since only should bear the cost of these drugs if they prove their effectiveness.

"The problem of generalizing the implementation of these treatments is that they usually can not be generalized," said Street. Serious types of drugs, especially cancer, tend to have a highly variable pattern of response depending on the type of cancer in the patient. Therefore, it is often effective only in a minority, so this payment formula allows the Government to take the risk and pay only for the cases useful.