The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) today announced the expansion of the Cancer Access Partnership (CAP) to further increase access to lifesaving cancer treatments in low- and middle-income countries in Africa and Asia.
The announcement was made alongside the launch of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) new Global Breast Cancer Initiative which aims to bring together partners to reduce global breast cancer mortality by 2.5% per year, thereby averting 2.5 million breast cancer deaths globally between 2020 and 2040.
Biocon Biologics Limited will join the growing list of companies in the CAP, which currently includes Novartis, Pfizer, and Viatris. This expanded partnership will make 26 medications in 39 formulations affordably available to low- and middle-income countries across Africa and Asia, including key chemotherapies, hormonal therapies, biologics, and supportive therapies essential for the treatment of 30 cancers, including breast cancer. The agreements will provide access to 25 regimens for the treatment of breast cancer— which is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer globally—and has the potential to generate an expected overall savings of 60% on purchased medications for governments.
Countries covered by the new agreements include Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, Lao PDR, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Not all products are offered in every country.
“Every person with cancer deserves affordable treatment that meets the high-quality standards set by a stringent regulatory authority and these new agreements will make that possible for many people in Africa and Asia” said Bill Cance, MD, our chief medical and scientific officer.
The addition of Biocon Biologics to the partnership, along with an expanded portfolio of biosimilars from Pfizer, will enable access to best-in-class therapies that are currently out of reach for patients in low- and middle-income countries. The agreements will now enable access to high quality trastuzumab, rituximab, and pegfilgrastim biosimilars, in addition to previously available biosimilar filgrastim from Novartis.
ACS and CHAI began partnering with governments and cancer treatment institutions across sub-Saharan Africa in 2015 to improve cancer treatment and care. Patients in sub-Saharan Africa are twice as likely to die from cancer as those in the U.S., and the number of cases in the region continues to grow, with an estimated 800,000 new cases and 500,000 deaths in 2020. Annual cancer deaths in sub-Saharan Africa are projected to almost double by 2030. Seventy percent of cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
In June of 2020, CHAI and ACS announced the creation of the Cancer Access Partnership alongside Novartis, Viatris, and existing partner, Pfizer. Since that time, partners have made significant commitments to increase access to high-quality products, leading to direct sales of cancer medicines in eight countries, with purchasers in additional countries engaged further. The expanding list of countries indicates continued willingness to serve ever greater populations. The partners are also committed to continually monitoring the impact of the partnership on patients.
The market access agreements are part of a broader effort to improve access to quality cancer care in Africa. In 2019, ACS, CHAI, the African Cancer Coalition, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), and IBM joined to form Allied Against Cancer. This coalition is leveraging the strengths of each organization to connect with and empower the African oncology community to deliver high-quality cancer care, and is working to pursue additional market-based collaborations to increase access to cancer medicines in the region. A recently launched Treatment Access Fund invites the support of multiple companies and other funders to support Allied Against Cancer activities.
For more information about the partnership, please visit https://alliedagainstcancer.org/access-partnership.