Cancer charities are calling on changes to UAE drug pricing and more financial support for low income patients as chemotherapy costs continue to rise.
According to researchers at cancer charity Rahma, a monthly course of chemotherapy can cost up to Dh32,000 depending on the type of cancer and treatment required.
In America, prices are similar to the UAE, but are cheaper in the UK and Australia where patented cancer medicines cost about Dh10,000 for a monthly supply.
In India, where chemotherapy is the cheapest in the world, treatments start from just Dh8,500 after regulation was introduced in 2016.
“If high prices make drugs unaffordable and inaccessible, and are causing harm as a result, then we should be seeking new solutions,” said Nora Al Suwaidi, director general at cancer care charity Rahma.
“In the new era of cancer patient care and treatment, doctors have to act as financial planners to find treatment that patients can afford.
“Conflict within the health sector is increasing, which implies the pharmaceutical industry is profiteering from the suffering of cancer patients.
“In the UAE we need to introduce a scheme where low income cancer patients have access to cheap or free cancer drugs via pharmaceutical companies and charitable organizations.”
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