Agreements to expand access to cancer medicines in Africa 

Written By: Emily Kenik
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Agreements to expand access to cancer medicines in Africa

The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) on Monday announced agreements with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, Novartis, and Mylan to expand access to 20lifesaving cancer treatments in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

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Purchasers are expected to save an average of 59 per cent for medicines procured through the agreements.

The countries included in the agreements are Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Cameroon, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, in Africa; and Vietnam, India, and Myanmar in Asia.

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Oncologists, government officials, and nonprofit organizations in many of these countries contributed to these agreements by sharing information and feedback to the CHAI team.

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According to Professor Isaac Adewole, co-chair, African Cancer Coalition and former Health Minister of Nigeria these new agreements will help to improve on the quality of lives and close the mortality gap for Africans with cancer.

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Medications included in the agreements cover recommended regimens for 27 types of cancer and enable complete chemotherapy regimens for the three cancers that cause the most deaths in Africa—breast, cervical, and prostate.

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These cancers are highly treatable and account for 38 per cent of cancers in the countries covered in the agreements.

Cancer patients in sub-Saharan Africa are twice as likely to die as those in the United States, often due to late diagnosis and lack of access to treatment.

Based on population ageing alone, annual cancer deaths in sub-Saharan Africa are projected to almost double by 2030.

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