Fresh deal to cut cost of prostate c****r care

Thursday, June 30th, 2022 10:13 | By
Prostrate cancer. PHOTO/Courtesy

Costs of treating prostate cancer in public and private hospitals could drastically reduce following a pact between the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and Johnson & Johnson Middle East FZ-LLC (Janssen Kenya).

This could see active NHIF members access treatment at Sh600,000, down from the initial Sh1.2 million.

Also, patients could access the prescription drug Abiraterone Acetate, used to treat advanced cases. The drug will be available to members within their existing NHIF packages.

Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache said that out of 42,116 cancer cases recorded annually, prostate cancer leads with 3, 400 new incidents and 1,740 deaths out of 27,092 fatalities from cancer.

“These are not just figures. They are our sons, brothers, fathers and grandfathers,” said the PS, describing yesterday’s partnership as a landmark.

The deal is part of a drive to roll out Universal Health Coverage (UHC) .

Avert deaths

The new drug, manufactured by Janssen Kenya, will expand access to quality treatment. Johnson & Johnson’s senior vice president for emerging markets, Asgar Rangoonwala, reiterated the firm’s commitment to boosting access to new medicines.

NHIF’s chief executive Peter Kamunyo said that in 2021-2022, the Fund reimbursed Sh630 million for members with prostate cancer. This, he said, represented 14 per cent of all cancer cases paid for by NHIF, totalling Sh4.5 billion. “We have been able to avert thousands of deaths from critical diseases,” he said.

Amref Health Africa CEO Githinji Gitahi said the partnership will alleviate the plight of many patients.

Cancer is one of the major non-communicable diseases in Kenya and is the third top killer after infectious diseases and cardiovascular ailments.

NHIF’s cancer care package entails chemotherapy sessions, drugs, inpatient and outpatient oncology services, radiotherapy, and brachytherapy sessions for advanced cases, per year.

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