UAE programme to make cancer treatment affordable

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on May 27, 2021
(From right to left) Ashraf Malak, managing director of MSD, GCC; Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Policy and Licensing Sector in the Ministry of Health and Prevention; and Anas Nofal, senior director for Greater MENA, Axios International, during the MoU signing.

It will support patients who cannot cover the full cost of therapy due to limited insurance coverage.

A new programme is set to make cancer immunotherapy affordable for patients in the UAE, the authorities announced on Thursday.

The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with global pharmaceutical company MSD to develop a programme called AWN.

To be implemented in collaboration with licensed charities in the country, the AWN programme will cater to the needs of cancer patients who need to undergo immunotherapy, a type of biological therapy that helps one’s immune system fight the big C.

As part of the agreement, MSD will support patients who cannot cover the full cost of the treatment due to limited or lack of health insurance coverage. They will be provided with vials of an immunotherapeutic agent, a humanised monoclonal antibody (an antibody made by cloning a unique white blood cell) that helps fight cancer. This immunotherapy is used for the treatment of different cancers, such as classical Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and other types of solid tumours. The treatment is sometimes given alone or combined with other anti-cancer therapies.

Ashraf Malak, managing director of MSD, GCC, said: “In our mission to provide cancer patients more ways to treat their cancer and enable a better quality of life, we are proud to widen their access to cancer immunotherapy through AWN programme. The programme will help improve health equity, providing everyone an opportunity to receive the highest standard of care and attain good quality of life. By supporting programmes like these, we are working to transform the delivery of cancer care and solving social and environmental barriers to care. Our team is constantly exploring ways to help the greatest number of cancer patients across a broad range of tumour types.”

The AWN programme is being implemented in accordance with policies and recommendations of Mohap for all approved and future-approved indications of the immunotherapeutic agent in the UAE.

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