NNA - Pharmaceutical companies including Novartis and Roche have formed alliances with global cancer organizations aimed at getting more oncology drugs to poorer countries.
Currently, less than 50% of cancer drugs on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of essential medicines are available in low- and middle-income countries, and the disease burden is increasing. Without action, about three out of four cancer deaths are set to occur in these settings over the next decade.
In a concrete first step for the Access to Oncology Medicine (ATOM) alliance, Novartis has licensed its blood cancer drug nilotinib to the United Nations Medicine Patent Pool (MPP), giving generic manufacturers access to information to produce the drug. is permitted. at scale and low cost.
Previously, HIV drugs and the technology behind COVID-19 have been shared as such, but nilotinib is the first drug for a non-communicable disease in the pool, ATOM said.
Its patent is only a year left, but Lutz Hegemann, Novartis’ global health chief, said generic manufacturers had indicated it was still worthwhile.
“I think in a year there’s a lot that you can try to test and it’s not the only drug that we would consider offering,” he said in an interview.
The aim of the alliance is not only to provide medicines, but also to support training, diagnosis and distribution to deliver them to patients, the Union for International Cancer Control – a key partner – said.
The alliance starts with $32 million from the private sector and will initially focus on capacity building activities in ten low- and middle-income countries, developing existing initiatives.
The Access to Medicine Foundation, which has long called for disparity in access to medicines and care, will collaborate with the group.
Jayshree Iyer, director of the foundation, said, “You have some top minds… people with deep pockets, shelves with drugs…. We will keep an eye on how this consortium delivers.”—Reuters