Minister Mkhize must ensure access to cancer medicine that WHO now considers “essential”
Johannesburg (9 July 2019) — It was announced today that lenalidomide, a lifesaving medicine to treat multiple myeloma, has been included on the latest edition of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Essential Medicines List (EML).
Welcoming the inclusion of lenalidomide on the list, among 5 new cancer medicines, the Fix the Patent Laws campaign (a coalition of nearly 45 patient advocacy groups in South Africa) said the announcement offers new Health Minister Dr Zwelini Mkhize an historic opportunity to act to save lives.
“Currently, the majority of cancer patients in South Africa who could benefit from lenalidomide cannot access it due to its prohibitively high cost of ZAR R60,781 per patient per month, or ZAR 729,372 per patient for a year’s course—depriving many people of a chance at life,” said Salomé Meyer, from the Cancer Alliance.
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