SUB SAHARAN AFRICA – The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) has announced agreements with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, Novartis and Mylan to expand access to 20 lifesaving cancer treatments in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
Purchasers are expected to save an average of 59 percent for medicines procured through the agreements.
“With the rapidly growing burden of cancer in Africa, it is crucial that we improve and expand access to high-quality, affordable treatment. These agreements build on those announced in 2017 that have already delivered substantial savings and increased treatment availability in several countries, including Nigeria,” said Professor Isaac Adewole, co-chair, African Cancer Coalition and former Health Minister of Nigeria.
The new agreements include both chemotherapies and endocrine therapies aligned to evidence-based guidelines harmonized for sub-Saharan Africa, and expand access to additional formulations, including those essential for treating childhood cancer.
“This collaboration has the potential to drastically impact access to care and save countless lives,” said William G. Cance, MD FACS, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, American Cancer Society.
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 aging alone, annual cancer deaths in sub-Saharan Africa are projected to almost double by 2030. The new agreements reach 23 countries in Africa, covering 74 percent of the annual cancer cases.
The new initiative includes Pfizer, Novartis, and Mylan, and will expand access to the priority medications and formulations in the agreements to additional countries.
All of the medications included in the agreements meet the quality standards set by a stringent regulatory authority such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
This new Cancer Access Partnership is an initiative of Allied Against Cancer and an expansion of the Chemotherapy Access Partnership. ACS and CHAI began working together in 2015 to improve care and treatment of cancer in sub-Saharan Africa, working with governments and cancer treatment institutions to address market inefficiencies, improve supply chains, and increase procurement to ensure quality medications were available at affordable prices.
This collaboration has shown that access to high-quality cancer treatments can be expanded in a sustainable way.
“While we have made strides in increasing access to lifesaving cancer treatments in sub-Saharan Africa over the last several years, there is much more work to be done. This collaboration is a significant step in delivering high-quality cancer treatment to more patients, bringing us closer to equitable cancer treatment for all people,” Dr. Iain Barton, Chief Executive Officer of CHAI stated.
In 2017, Allied Against Cancer members ACS and CHAI announced agreements with Pfizer and Cipla to expand access to 16 essential cancer treatment medications in six countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Since entering into partnership with CHAI and ACS in 2017, we have seen the positive impact that sustainable access to quality, affordable cancer medicines can have on patients in vulnerable communities in Africa,” said Rhulani Nhlaniki, Pfizer Cluster Lead for sub-Saharan Africa and Country Manager, South Africa.
“We remain committed to this model that helps to reduce the overwhelming burden on patients and healthcare systems, and we are pleased to be able to expand our chemotherapy offerings under the program to better serve the needs of patients.”
“This agreement is an important step to provide lifesaving medicines to more cancer patients across Africa. Having personally seen the growing toll cancer takes on the patients and many affected families in Africa, I am very excited about this collaboration of multiple stakeholders to dramatically improve access to cancer medicines in many countries,” said Racey Muchilwa, Head of Novartis sub-Saharan Africa.
“Mylan is proud to join CHAI, ACS and this important group of industry stakeholders to help expand access to critical medicines for oncology patients. Mylan has a long-standing commitment to support those impacted by non-communicable diseases, including cancer, which significantly impact low- and middle-income countries,” said Rakesh Bamzai, President, India and Emerging Markets, Mylan.
The countries included in the agreements are: Botswana, Cameroon, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, in Africa; and Vietnam, India, and Myanmar in Asia.
Oncologists, government officials, and nonprofit organizations in many of these countries contributed to these agreements by sharing information and feedback to the CHAI team.