Cancer Patients Before Profits

Patients before ProfitsTime for cancer patients to come before corporate profits.  By Manon Ress

On 26th Of May, the World Health Assembly adopted the long debated Resolution on Cancer Prevention and Control. This is an important step towards supporting countries to address this disease in order to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Cancers are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths in 2012, 70% of which occurred in low and middle income countries. These numbers are expected to increase as society ages and lifestyles change, particularly in developing countries. The societal cost, as measured by human potential loss and economic cost, is high.

In addition to prevention efforts, addressing cancer requires access to prevention and treatment but this goal cannot be achieved under the existing policies that shape the price of medicines.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women both in developed and developing countries. Women with positive gene “human epidermal growth factor receptor 2” (HER2) face serious challenges related to the high prices of two effective medicines.

Trastuzumab is marketed by Roche under the brand name Herceptin. In South Africa, a 12-month course of trastuzumab costs approximately ZAR 516,700 ($38,000) – or around 5 times the country’s average household income. Given its unaffordability, trastuzumab is not available in South Africa’s public health sector where more than 80 percent of the country’s population seek care. Moreover, high co-payments required by medical insurers to access treatment are simply unaffordable for many who use the private sector”. (See also this post)

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COSP: Full Participation of PWD?

COSP is comingCOSP is coming. The UN will soon hold an important international meeting to advance the rights of people with disabilities (PWD). The 10th session of the Conference of State Parties (COSP) to the human rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) aims to build on the work that has been done during the last ten years. It will involve governments, UN agencies and civil society organisations, even some that represent those most affected and most in need of the implementation of the CRPD treaty.

Because I am a woman with a disability, this meeting is important. Since I believe that PWD must not be excluded from participating in decisions others make about our health and well being, the COSP is also a step in the right direction because a few PWD can have a say. It could be a giant step in the right direction if the civil society representation was fully accountable to the community and defended our interests, not their own. But, we will get there one day.

I am curious about what this meeting will do to improve our lives. So to provide further information, below is the blurb from the UN. I will try to follow the meeting by internet and write more on what is happening in New York, for all of us not able to be there.
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Beginning a second decade to advance the rights of persons with disabilities

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