Cheaper Drugs Help Local Cancer Sufferers

Thirteen more anti-cancer drugs have been included in the city’s medical insurance program, starting today, bringing more affordable treatment to cancer patients.

 

Along with the previous four drugs, the 17 drugs all have proven curative effects, but were prohibitively expensive for many patients. Inclusion in the program will reduce their average price by 56.7 percent.

 

Also, patients will pay substantially less for the previously covered four drugs, Shanghai social security authorities announced over the weekend.

 

Li Xiangyun, deputy director of the oncology department at Shanghai Chest Hospital, said some of his patients had asked when the inclusion was going to happen, as they had been aware of the forthcoming changes since last month.

 

“At least five of the 17 are used to treat lung cancer, one of the most prevalent cancers in the city,” said Ye. “Inclusion in public health insurance and lower prices will significantly reduce the burden on patients.”

 

“Tagrisso, for example, is taken by 7 percent of our lung cancer patients. It used to cost more than 50,000 yuan (US$7,208) per month, but now that has been reduced to around 15,000 yuan and almost 80 percent of that will be covered by public insurance. Patients will save nearly 90 percent.”

 

Erbitux, another anti-cancer agent on insurance list, has a market price of 3,650 yuan, but with the new policy, patients will have to pay only 510.

 

Shanghai Jiahui International Hospital is the only international hospital covered by the city’s medical insurance. “The new policy will greatly reduce patients’ costs,” Ge Feng, president of the hospital, said.

 

“For cancer treatment, up to 75 percent of cost are covered for local patients and up to 50 percent for patients from other provinces.”

 

As a strategic collaborator with US-based Massachusetts General Hospital, Jiahui has teamed up with MGH to allow local patients to participate clinical trial of new drugs in the United States, Jiahui officials told the International Cancer Immunotherapy Symposium in the city yesterday.

 

Source: SHINE