Under a massive expansion ofits oncology services, Brazil’s national health care system (SUS) will offercancer patients access to nine new treatments and expand coverage for 66already-covered procedures, including 46 chemotherapy treatments.

The nine treatments whichare to be made available for the first time through the SUS include three forliver cancer plus five for breast cancer, leukemia and lymphoma and one newradiotherapy treatment.

Investments in the SUSoncology services, which provide treatment for around 300,000 cancer patients,will increase 25% to 412.7 million reals this year, rising to 2 billion realsin 2011. The widening of value coverage for already-provided treatments willsee investments in chemotherapy services increasing from 1.25 billion realslast year to 1.5 billion in 2011, with particularly large increases in spendingon treatments for conditions such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia, set to rise765%.

For 24 chemotherapy treatments,value coverage is to be reduced but this will reflect purely reductions incosts of these treatments, say analysts at IHS Global Insight, who also pointout that SUS funding for radiotherapy treatments will be increased 94% over2009 levels to reach 318 million reals in 2011.

The analysts forecast thatthe SUS oncology services will continue to give priority to the introduction ofnew technologies, and that the government will maintain its support for localproduction facilities, such as the development, in partnership with Argentina, of tworeactors for the production of oncology drugs, announced in June.

Cancer is Brazil’s second-biggest killer after cardiovascular disease,and the fact that the SUS guarantees virtually all diagnosed patients haveaccess to treatment makes it an attractive market for drugmakers. For example,last year the country’s breast cancer drug market was worth  $424 million, rivaling some majormarkets such as the UK and Japan and greatly exceeding the other BRIC (Russia,India and China) nations, says market research firm Decision Resources, whichforecasts that breast cancer drug sales in Brazil will rise to $611 million by2014.

Decision Resources is also forecasting good growth for Brazil’snon-small-cell lung (NSCL) cancer drug market, driven by increased uptake ofhigher-priced brands of chemotherapy, around 21% annual growth for targetedregimens and maintenance treatment (all in the advanced setting) and modestuptake of novel targeted agents. Drugs produced by western manufacturers willincrease their share of the market from around 60% last year to 70% in 2014,when the total NSCL cancer drug market will be worth $240 million, it says.

- With annual drug sales of just over $17 billion, Brazil is the world’s11th-largest pharmaceutical market and is once again the biggest inLatin America. Having fallen behind Mexico in the earlier part of the decade,it has produced consistent double-digit growth in the last five years, reachinga peak of 33% in 2005 and rising 13% in 2009, reports IMS Health.