Prostate cancer patients covered by NHIF can now access an innovator prescription drug manufactured and distributed by Janssen Kenya.
This follows the signing of a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NHIF and Johnson & Johnson Middle East FZ-LLC (Janssen Kenya), the prescription drug, Abiraterone Acetate used for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer will be made available to NHIF members within their existing benefits package.
Speaking after witnessing the MoU signing by NHIF and Janssen, Health PS Susan Mochache in a speech read on her behalf by NHIF Chairperson Lewis Nguyai described the partnership as a landmark development that will help boost the local access to innovator drugs.
The Ministry of Health and NHIF, she said, has been actively engaging innovative pharmaceutical companies to seal similar private-public partnership agreements that will facilitate access to innovator drugs at affordable rates.
“The Ministry of Health and NHIF has sealed this landmark MoU with Janssen as part of our ongoing foundation building to ensure the success of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) national rollout. We are proud to be associated with Janssen for taking the lead in opening up access to an innovator drug such as Abiraterone Acetate, which will enhance positive health outcomes for prostate cancer patients,” Mochache said.
Visiting Senior Vice President for Emerging Markets at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson Mr Asgar Rangoonwala reiterated the company´s commitment to boosting access to innovative medicines in emerging economies.
“The MoU signed with NHIF is one of our partnerships to rollout new access models and equitable pricing strategies that improve the availability of our medicines to patients in emerging countries such as Kenya.” He said.
NHIF CEO Dr. Peter Kamunyo echoed the importance of the partnership in Universal Health Coverage, confirming that NHIF has reviewed and expanded the range of benefits available for cancer patients.
Currently, the NHIF cancer care package entails up to 10 chemotherapy sessions, oral and injectable anti-cancer drugs, inpatient, and outpatient oncology services, 20 sessions for radiotherapy, and up to two sessions for Brachytherapy for advanced cancer, per year.
Cancer remains one of the major non-communicable diseases in Kenya and ranks third as a cause of death after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. More than 70% of cancer cases are diagnosed late when treatment outcomes are poor, and palliative care is usually the only management amenable.