Global drug firms sign deal to cut cost of cancer medicines in Kenya


David Makumi of Kenya Network of Cancer Organisations. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Two global drug manufacturers, Pfizer and Cipla, have signed a deal that will see Kenyans buy a range of up to 16 cancer drugs at half the market price.

The partnership is backed by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI).

The deal will see an increase in access to life-saving cancer treatment including chemotherapies in five other African countries; Ethiopia, Nigeria Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.

Pfizer will provide 11 branded cancer medicines namely; Carboplatin, Cisplatin, Docetaxel, Doxorubicin, Epirubicin, Fluorouracil, Gemcitabine, Leucovorin, Methotrexate, Oxaliplatin, and Paclitaxel.

The agreement with Cipla covers Anastrazole, Bleomycin, Capecitabine, Carboplatin, Cisplatin, Cytarabine, Oxaliplatin and Vinblastine.

“Every person with cancer deserves access to treatment, no matter where they live. Collaborating with companies like Pfizer and Cipla is a critical next step toward leveling the playing field for people with cancer and saving lives in this part of the world,” said ACS chief executive, Gary M Reedy.

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“ACS is committed to making sure that the progress we have made in the US is not limited to our borders.”

An estimated 44 per cent of all cancer cases reported in sub-Saharan Africa every year occur in these six countries.

CHAI chief executive, Ira Magaziner, said an analysis of current procurement practices suggests that African governments could move to cost-competitive, quality-approved medicines while reducing current costs by more than half through effective implementation of these programmes.

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Currently, 1 gram Gemcitabine roughly costs Sh19,800 while 300g of Paclitaxel cost about Sh19,720 – this prices will now be cut by half. Pfizer’s 120mg of Docetaxel costs Sh18,750 while Cipla’s Anastrazole and Bleomycin costs Sh168 per tablet and Sh1,950 (15 units) respectively.

The Kenya Network of Cancer Organisations chairman, David Makumi said the initiative will ease the financial burden on patients receiving chemotherapy.