Press release

Central Europe and Baltics region lags behind Western Europe for treatment choices


Bratislava, November 22, 2023 — Key policy makers and healthcare experts gathered in Prague for an event this week to address the regional gap in cancer care and kick off the first comprehensive survey on multiple myeloma in Central European and Baltics (CEB), conducted by The Economist.

The event, organized by the global think-tank GLOBSEC, built on the success of previous initiatives, and marked a significant continuation of GLOBSEC's commitment to fostering collaboration in healthcare. With a mission to address the challenges and opportunities in cancer care, the event delved into the latest advancements and strategies outlined in the European Union’s Beating Cancer Plan, with a special focus on multiple myeloma and the ‘care gap’ between CEB and Western Europe.

"The European Cancer Beating Plan, to which the European Commission has allocated more than €4 billion,aims to improve the quality of cancer care, increase access to innovative treatments, and support the development of new therapies. The field of blood cancer and multiple myeloma specifically can be a good example and an interesting pilot area to successfully take the whole issue of cancer care into our hands and achieve positive results in a relatively short time,” commented Professor Róbert Babeľa, Vice-Rector of the Slovak Medical University.

“Healthcare spending as a proportion of GDP and per capita remains considerably lower than in western Europe”, in fact “total healthcare spending as a proportion of GDP remained lower than the EU 27 average of 9.9% in 2019.1 GLOBSEC’s  Healthcare Readiness Index 2022 confirms this data, ranking the CEE countries behind the broader EU, Norway and Great Britain group in overall readiness. By presenting this updated index,” GLOBSEC aims to contribute to ongoing discussions on healthcare resilience and promote collaborative efforts in the fight against cancer,” unveiled GLOBSEC’s Associate Fellow Martin Smatana.

Multiple myeloma affects increasingly younger generations. In Europe, more than 50,900 people were diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 20202. In CEB, access to novel treatments for myeloma lags behind Western Europe,3 and a lack of updated country-specific clinical guidelines for disease management means patients have suboptimal choices for treatment.

Although more than 3,000 clinical trials have been conducted in myeloma treatment over the past two decades, only 6% of them included patients from Central and Eastern Europe.4 Inefficient clinical trial registration processes, lack of trained workforce, lack of access to standard therapies and heterogeneity in care are impediments to running clinical trials in the region.

Additionally, diagnostic delays are common, and at the time of diagnosis, more than half the patients present more severe symptoms and complications (56% of patients in the region present with bone disease, while 51% present with anaemia), placing an even greater burden on them and the healthcare system.5

To help identify opportunities to close the gap, a comprehensive regional study, will be conducted during the next six months, with the independent research done by The Economist. This major analytical review will provide more in-depth insights on the state of the disease in the region. 

The voice of local multiple myeloma patients was already raised at the beginning of this year in a documentary ‘My Myeloma: ready for the steps ahead’ and continues with the analytical approach as a call to all health care stakeholders.

As Mira Armour, co-founder, and CEO of MijelomCRO addressed it “We are on a mission to make each patient in our region feel secure, well treated and with access to the timely and most up to date care. This is what drives me every minute of my working day. And I'm sure we can achieve it. “

Watch the recording of the event here and read more about it here and in the summary below.

For media inquiries, please contact: Henrieta Kunová, Director of Communications, [email protected]


GLOBSEC is a global think-tank based in Bratislava committed to enhancing security, prosperity, and sustainability in Europe and throughout the world. It is an independent, non-partisan, non-governmental organisation. With its presence in Bratislava, Brussels, Kyiv, Vienna, and Washington, GLOBSEC's mission is to influence the future by generating new ideas and solutions for a better and safer world. To this goal contributes the annual GLOBSEC Bratislava Forum, one of the leading global security conferences. GLOBSEC also organises the annual GLOBSEC Tatra Summit, a conference that provides the opportunity for experts to have fruitful political discussions on the future of Europe.


1 At a turning point: Healthcare systems in Central and Eastern Europe; AmCham EU. December 2022. Available at:

2 Cancer Today Population factsheets: Europe Region, Available at:, last assessed on February 2023.
3 Coriu D, Dytfeld D, Niepel D, et al. Realworld multiple myeloma management practice patterns and outcomes in selected Central and Eastern European countries. Pol Arch Intern Med. 2018 Sep 28;128(9):500-511.
4 Myeloma Patients Europe. Addressing access barriers to myeloma clinical trials in Central and Eastern Europe. November 2022. Available from:
5 Coriu D, Dytfeld D, Niepel D, et al. Realworld multiple myeloma management practice patterns and outcomes in selected Central and Eastern European countries. Pol Arch Intern Med. 2018 Sep 28;128(9):500-511.