Roche’s key priority is to improve access to our innovative oncology medicines. The past two years have been challenging and brought significant insights for us but we are pleased that we were able to achieve some positive outcomes with regards to access to trastuzumab in the state sector. We recognize that access is still not optimal and we will continue to engage and work with stakeholders to ensure broader access to trastuzumab in both private and public sectors. Our aim is for every person who needs Roche medicines to be able to access and benefit from them. Our experience over the past two years has also highlighted that there are multiple barriers which prevent patients from accessing our medicines and not just price. Access to healthcare in South Africa is a multidimensional challenge with four key factors being awareness, diagnosis, healthcare capacity and funding. As a result we will be embarking on a series of dialogues on access to cancer care in South Africa with all stakeholders involved in improving healthcare in the country. At the end of this we, as Roche, hope to be in a better position to develop targeted and holistic solutions which will improve the access of our innovative medicine to patients.
What Roche will be doing to combat cancer in 2018?
Late diagnosis still remains a primary barrier to cancer patients receiving treatment. As a result Roche has undertaken a number of activities over the past year to increase disease education and awareness of cancer in South Africa. We have done these activities in collaboration with various patient groups in South Africa, as well as our neighboring southern Africa countries. In 2018 we will continue these activities aimed at increasing cancer education, awareness and screening.
Another key initiative aimed at increasing disease awareness, education and screening of breast, cervical and prostate cancer is the Phelophepa train, which Roche has been involved in for over 20 years. Roche has been the key sponsor of the Roche healthcare clinic on the Phelophepa train since 1994. The train travels for 35 weeks of each year, visiting one rural community a week and has brought healthcare services to millions of people already. To read more about the Phelophepa Health Train, visit http://phelophepa.transnetfoundation.co.za/