The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and Janssen have unveiled a joint partnership to enhance access of a crucial drug for local prostate cancer patients.
Janssen is one of the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson and its partnering with NHIF seeks to support efforts by NHIF to adopt new low cost service delivery models by embracing public-private partnerships (PPPs).
The Janssen Kenya Prostate cancer programme will provide significant cost savings to NHIF members.
Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a specialist oncology pharmaceutical solutions provider, will make one of its innovative medicines used for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer available at a subsidized rate for NHIF members.
The prescription drug, Zytiga (Abiraterone) will be available to NHIF members from selected public and private medical facilities.
Two years ago NHIF introduced the cancer treatment reimbursement scheme for all its’ National Scheme members.
The Scheme reimburses up-to a maximum of Kshs600,000 a year for all cancers.
Last year, NHIF spent Kshs1.36 billion in the financial year 2017/ 2018 as payment towards oncology (cancer) treatments representing an 11 per cent increase from the previous year.
Speaking at the launch of the joint partnership, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Director of Global Business Institutions and Patient insight, Global Market Access, Craig Winters, said the company is partnering with NHIF to enhance treatment of metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer with Zytiga (Abiraterone). This is to facilitate a positive impact on the lives of patients with advanced prostate cancer.
The partnership, he said is geared at enhancing access for patients with advanced prostate cancer by getting more patients diagnosed and treated early.
The partnership with NHIF, Winter said will provide much needed financial relief as financing for cancer treatment remains a challenge for many developing countries including Kenya.
Zytiga has proven efficacy and outcomes with extensive real world experience since its launch in 2011.
Clinical data has shown significant extension of patient survival and maintenance of health related quality of life.
NHIF Claims and Benefits Manager Judy Otele said the insurance fund is actively working to address barriers to cancer care access.
She disclosed that NHIF has successfully managed to negotiate the price reduction of Zytiga from Kshs 200,000 (USD 2000) to about Kshs 100,000 (USD 2000).
She added, “There’s need to lobby all stakeholders including the government, investors, suppliers among others to make cancer care accessible and affordable through public-private partnerships.”
To ensure a coordinated response to cancer control in Kenya, the National Cancer Control Strategy (NCCS) 2017-2022 was developed to act as a framework to guide all stakeholders supporting cancer control in Kenya.
The strategy addresses the whole cancer ecosystem from prevention to survivorship and has 5 pillars namely: prevention, early detection and screening, diagnosis, registration and surveillance, treatment, palliative care and survivorship, coordination, partnership and financing and monitoring, evaluation and research.
Cancer is one of the major non-communicable diseases in Kenya and ranks third as a cause of death after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases.
It is estimated that there are 40,000 new cases annually and approximately 28,000 cancer related deaths every year. Cancer costs the country billions with lost man hours in addition to treatment costs.