Feb 15, 2022
  • In observance of World Cancer Day, Novartis reiterated its commitment to enhancing access to innovative cancer treatments.
  • World Cancer Day is observed on February 4 of every year. Its theme for 2022 to 2024 is “Close the Care Gap”.
  • In the Philippines, Novartis has a long-term commitment to collaborate with health authorities, policymakers, healthcare professionals, patient groups, and other stakeholders who share a common goal of improving access to healthcare and medicines.

February 7, 2022 – As Novartis continues to work to develop therapies for cancer and other life-threatening diseases, the research-driven Swiss healthcare company is also striving to ensure its innovative treatments are accessible to those who need it most. Together with its partners, Novartis is working tirelessly to connect patients to care, resources and each other.1

“This World Cancer Day, we are helping to put the original C Word—Cancer—back in the spotlight. The pandemic has impacted progress and exacerbated existing disparities in cancer care. Now is the time for the world to come together to close the gap and to create a better normal of cancer care, not just a new normal,”2 said Dr. Susanne Schaffert, President, Novartis Oncology.

“This year’s World Cancer Day theme, ‘Close the Care Gap’, underscores the urgent need to address inequities in cancer care. We call on our leaders and key stakeholders to listen to the perspectives of the people living with cancer and their communities and let those lived experiences guide their thoughts and actions,” said Mr. Paul Perez, President, Cancer Coalition Philippines (CCPh).

“Enhanced access to more responsive and affordable healthcare services is at the heart of the National Integrated Cancer Control Act. NICCA aims to ensure the provision of quality health services and financial risk protection to cancer patients in the country,” said Dr. Clarito Cairo, Jr., Program Manager, National Integrated Cancer Control Program, Department of Health.

“An integral part of health equity is empowering patients through health literacy. One of our organization’s key advocacies is ensuring the general public has access to current and important information regarding cancer, from prevention, diagnosis, treatment and surveillance,” said Dr. Arnold John B. Uson, President, Philippine Society of Medical Oncology.

World Cancer Day is observed on February 4 of every year. Its theme for 2022 to 2024 is “Close the Care Gap”. Half the world’s population lacks access to the full range of essential health services. Many cancer patients are denied basic care, despite the fact that we live in a time of awe-inspiring advancements in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment, according to the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).3

“In the Philippines, we have a long-term commitment to collaborate with health authorities, policymakers, healthcare professionals, patient groups, and other stakeholders who share a common goal of improving access to healthcare and medicines. We continuously aim to make more innovative medicines available in the country as soon as possible for the benefit of Filipino patients. There will be one for breast cancer in 2022,” said Mr. Joel Chong, Oncology General Manager, Novartis Healthcare Philippines, Inc.

In observance of World Cancer Day last year and to help more Filipino patients gain access to effective cancer treatments, Novartis voluntarily reduced the prices of its medicines used in the treatment of breast cancer, kidney cancer, aplastic anemia, leukemia, gastrointestinal tumors, among others.

Novartis also implements various access programs that provide an effective and sustainable way of helping Filipino patients gain access to effective cancer treatments.

Novartis partnered with the Department of Health (DOH) and patient group Touched By Max, Inc. in leading the country’s observance of World CML Day through a webinar held on September 22, 2021. The webinar also served as the venue for the launch of the DOH Cancer, Supportive Care, and Palliative Care Medicine Access Program (CSPMAP) in 26 government hospitals. CSPMAP aims to provide free medicines for the identified priority set of cancer types that are not yet fully covered by PhilHealth and to minimize or eliminate out-of-pocket costs among the target population.

In observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October last year, Novartis and Docquity launched an electronic patient access program for advanced breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Filipino women, and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the country, next to lung and liver cancer.4 The program is designed to help advanced breast cancer patients sustain their prescribed treatment and support achievement of better treatment outcomes. By spreading treatment cost over 2 years, the program helps patients and their families manage their finances. Moreover, it provides doctors sufficient time to evaluate patient response within the first 2 years of treatment.

Also in October 2021, Novartis joined forces with the DOH, cancer patient support group ICanServe Foundation, and Philippine Hospital Association to promote awareness on breast cancer through the dissemination of a series of patient education videos.

“Kamay Gabay, Sariling Salat sa Suso” is a series of 4-minute animated Breast Self-Examination (BSE) tutorial videos in Cebuano and Tagalog. It aims to teach Filipino women how and when to do BSE in relation to age-associated early detection guidelines for breast cancer; and raise awareness on the importance of regular BSE to facilitate early detection and prompt treatment of breast cancer.

“Advanced Breast Cancer (ABC) Videos” is a series of 3-minute videos in English, Cebuano, and Tagalog that provide patient education on HR-positive and HER2-negative advanced breast cancer. It aims to raise awareness on the different types of metastatic breast cancers with key message that not all breast cancers are the same; and highlight the importance of determining the specific type of metastatic breast cancer in targeted treatment planning.

The videos are available on the DOH Healthy Pilipinas Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/DOHhealthypilipinas) , ICanServe Foundation Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/icanserve), PHA Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/PHA1949/), and Novartis Healthcare Philippines website (https://www.novartis.com.ph/).

About Novartis

Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. Novartis products reach more than 750 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 105 000 people of more than 140 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Find out more at www.novartis.com.

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