Pfizer and Cipla work to counteract the growing number of cancer cases in Africa
Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Cipla will be reducing the prices of 16 cancer drugs in a bid to reduce the rising number of cancer cases across Africa, included much needed chemotherapy medication.
Whilst the five-year survival rate for women with breast cancer in the United States is 90%, in Uganda it's just 46%. Cancer kills more people in the region than either malaria or tuberculosis. By 2030, the World Health Organization has now estimated that for every four deaths from HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, there will be three deaths from cancer.
The market agreement will be supported by The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and will improve access for those who cannot afford the rising costs of treatment. This has led to the rise of counterfeit drugs which continue to sold at premium prices. Consequently, Pfizer will only charge just above its current manufacturing costs, whilst Cipla’s medication will range from 50 cents to $10.
The following medicines under Pfizer are: Carboplatin, Cisplatin, Docetaxel, Doxorubicin, Epirubicin, Fluorouracil, Gemcitabine, Leucovorin, Methotrexate, Oxaliplatin and Paclitaxel. The agreement with Cipla will include Anastrazole, Bleomycin, Capecitabine, Carboplatin, Cisplatin, Cytarabine, Oxaliplatin and Vinblastine.
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However, Moses Kamabare, general manager of Uganda’s National Medical Stores, the health ministry’s purchasing arm informed the New York Times: “These 16 won’t be enough — they’re about half the range we need.”
“But in terms of value, they are about 75% of our current oncology budget. So, we are really, really grateful for a chance to get better quality at a better price.”
There continues to be a substantial shortage of cancer specialists, where each oncologist is unable to specialise in a particular cancer. The shortage has also led to an increased number of patients who are diagnosed too late, leading to the rising death toll.
To counteract this issue, IBM Health Corps has also collaborated with ACS and CHAI to build the necessary software to enable the ongoing budget and distribution of medicine across Africa.
Additionally, US oncologists will work to break down and simplify complex, hundred-page guidelines surrounding the treatment of each cancer for oncologists within Africa, who would otherwise be ill equipped to support the growing number of cancer patients. IBM will then ensure this information is available in a digital format, making this information increasingly accessible with this online tool.
On the rise: Doktor.se
1. Doktor.se launches as a digital healthcare platform in Sweden in 2016. The company's focus is on the B2B market, with a mission to help members find, book and get access to healthcare services through telehealth and telephone calls.
2. The company offers healthcare services through its app as well as at bricks and mortar clinics. After raising more than €40 million in a funding round in May 2020 to expand its operations both nationally and overseas, CEO and founder Martin Lindman says there are plans to enter new markets at the beginning of 2021.
3. Belgium becomes the fifth market where Doktor.se provides telemedicine, through Belgium's communications company Proximus Group. It becomes the second most downloaded doctor app in Europe, and over 1.2 million patient consultations are carried out, either through the app or at physical clinics in Sweden. Throughout 2020 it administers over 250,000 COVID-19 antibody tests in Sweden.
4. Doktor.se is the most popular digital healthcare in Sweden, used by approximately one-tenth of the country's population. New funds are raised to offer improved services for mental health and chronic illnesses, and to expand digital services and acquire physical services to integrate into its digital platforms with the aim of creating a hybrid model.
5. The company announces €29.5 million in funding from Chinese technology multinational Tencent Holdings. Doktor.se say the funds will be used to make its global healthcare services more efficient, accessible and affordable.
The platform now employs nurses, doctors and specialist doctors, psychologists, and physiotherapists, and is available across Europe and in Brazil.
6. Over 1.5 million people are currently using healthcare apps developed by Doktor.se, either run by the company or through its SaaS licensing business. There are around 900 people employed by the company, and Doktor.se say that the productivity of medical staff using the platform is up to four times greater than those working in traditional services.