High cost of cancer medication in the spotlight.


High prices for cancer medication is impairing the capacity to provide affordable health care, states a summary of a new World Health Organisation  (WHO) report released in November 2018.

The report goes on to say that cancer drug prices exceeds those of medicines used to treat other major diseases , with costs growing at a fast rate, which is the main reason why youth organizations and community members gathered outside the Emperors palace.

Trastuzumab which is known as Herceptin is a World Health Organisation(WHO) medicine for the treatment of HER2 positive breast cancer costs R130.632 (US$ 9,295) in the public sector and R475,380 (US$ 33,827) in the private sector in South Africa. Calls for the reduce of drug prices and transparency began at the first Fair Pricing Forum in 2017 held in Netherlands.

The World Health Organisation  (WHO) Fair Pricing Forum together with the Department of  Health chose South Africa as a venue to host the policy making meeting from 11 to 13 April 2019 in Kempton Park, Johannseburg.

Delegates from government, NGO’s, academias and industries were present to discuss a fairer pharmatical system where medication is affordable and accessible to all.

“It is a right of the people to be heard at all levels of the health system and the obligation of the system is to listen. What people have to say about the health systems is a valuable source of information for planning and improvement of the health care service provision.”Anele Yawa the secretary general of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).

United Health care organizations who were interested in this meeting planned a picketing that was supposed to be held inside the Emperors palace. After requesting for permission to host a picket inside the palace, the health organizations were taken from place to place by the EPDM and the management of Emperors palace and were not granted access to the property.

In a statement issued by the secretary general of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) Anele Yawa, a member of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) proceeded to the high court to get an order permitting the members to continue their picket outside anyway.

The program went as planned, songs and chants from the Cancer Alliance, Section 27, Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Fix The Patient Law (FTPL) were load. Anele Yawa said “while medication prices increases are regulated in South Africa launch prices are not”.

A memorandum that was supposed to be handed over to the Minister of Health  Dr Pakishe  Aaron Motsoaledi was handed over to Shireen Pardesi from the Department of Health who promised to submit the document to the right hands and also stated that the document will form part of the discussion over the next two days.

“As a local organization we are saying we want you to take this statement and we hope we can move forward, we want to bring to the attention of the delegates that when negotiating fair pricing we as patients have a voice, nothing about us without us.” Said Salome Meyer of the Cancer Alliance.

The United Health care organizations will keep their ears to the ground for progress.


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