Four new innovative medications for treating lung cancer patients were A-listed by the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO) on Thursday (March 1).
The announcement was made by pulmologist Miroslav Samaržija at a meeting of the Croatian Thoracic Society, an advocacy group calling for improvement in care for people with respiratory diseases. HZZO’s decision means that the cost of these advanced medications will be covered fully by the basic health care plan, vastly increasing their availability and providing relief to as many as 500 cancer patients in the country in any given year.
Lung cancer is the most common and the most deadly type of cancer in Croatia, ranked number one of all cancers affecting men and third in cancers affecting women. Some 3,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in Croatia every year, which is also roughly the number of deaths attrributed to it.
The overall five-year survival rate for lung cancer patients in Croatia is between 5 and 6 percent, significantly lower than 10 percent in the EU or 15 percent in the United States. One of the reasons for this difference is largely due to the high number of smokers in the general population, as only 5 percent of diagnosed lung cancer patients are non-smokers.