NCD Program Database
What are the health needs and challenges?
Breast cancer is the number one killer cancer in Egypt killing about 7,200 women every year. The disease burden of breast cancer in Egypt is steadily increasing. According to the National Cancer Institute, the disease accounts to as much as 35% of all cancer cases treated at the institution. If detected early, 95 per cent of breast cancer can be cured. However, in Egypt recovery rates remain alarmingly low due to female-related taboos and patriarchal values that hinder the detection and diagnose of the fatal disease.
Egypt has one of the lowest GDP Per Capita in the Middle East and healthcare budgets are stretched. This means that the innovative targeted therapies for breast cancer are not available in the public healthcare system. Women have to pay for treatment themselves which is impossible for most of them.
Partnership activities and how they address needs and challenge
The Patient Support Program (PSP) in Egypt was introduced in June 2016 and is designed to improve access to innovative treatment for women with breast cancer.
Budget constraints in the public healthcare system have meant that Perjeta (Pertuzumab), a treatment for HER2 positive breast cancer patients, is currently only available for patients in the private sector. The program is designed to serve out of pocket patients through patient support program. There is no eligibility criteria to include patients, except for the fact that the patient needs to purchase the drug by herself – not by a hospital or center. This ensures that the offer/ benefit is given to the patient only and not to a hospital or private insurance company. Once the patient is enrolled into the program, she gets a membership card and vouchers for testing. Once she completes purchasing two vials (two cycles), she get one free vial (third cycle).
When designing the PSP Roche recognized that several systemic hurdles, including cultural aspects, capacity issues (i.e. the limited time each doctor has for each patient) and testing/diagnostic capabilities need to be addressed. For this reason, Roche works closely with CanSurvive Egypt to give emotional and individual life coaching support to patients and to provide them with tools for self-advocacy. We also work closely with Cairo Scan Lab to provide patients with free screening and diagnostic tests.