Press Conference // Asparaginase in the EU: why are patients being exposed to a substandard cancer medicine?

28 June 2023, from 09:00-09:30, Anna Politkovskaya Press Conference Room (SPAAK 0A50)

A few months ago, a report from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism raised the alarm with regards to asparaginase, an essential drug for treating cancer in children.

Because high-quality asparaginase products are often unaffordable or not available, less expensive alternatives are being used.

Some of these alternative drugs do not meet the necessary safety and quality standards and can cause the death of children during treatment. According to the aforementioned report, such substandard drugs have been used in the EU, notably in Italy.

Following the concerning findings in the report, colleagues and I tabled a written question to the Commission, seeking for clarifications on the presence of substandard asparaginase in the European Union. Unfortunately, the response received did not provide any reassurance.

In this light, I would like to address the issue in the Parliament and ensure it receives the necessary attention.

Together with Laura Margottini from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the press conference will address a follow-up investigation that was conducted in Italy and presents worrisome findings. The report is due to be published on the 29th of June.

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Tilly Metz