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Novartis’ Patient Programme Supports More Than 4,000 Thai Cancer Patients

More than 4,000 Thai cancer patients have benefitted from a Novartis patient programme that is designed to support the needs of patients that cannot afford the medicines required for two specific cancers.

At the 12th anniversary of the formation of the patient programme, named GIPAP, Novartis revealed that it had supported more than 4,000 patients suffering from Chronic Myeloid Leukemia and Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumours in Thailand.

Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) accounts for 15 per cent of all leukaemia affecting adults. The actual cause of the disease is still unknown but exposure to radiation is thought be play a significant role.

“The GIPAP programme has come a long way since its early stages when potential suffers had very limited access to information and treatment. The introduction of this programme has given more people access to essential drugs and therapy and is helping endure no Thai patient is left behind. This has been made possible thanks to the efforts the Ministry of Health and the National Health Security office for taking the programme around the country, and Novartis for providing imatinib mesylate.” said Jirapon Chaimongkon, President of Thai CML Patient Group.

Professor Dr. Saengsuree Jootar, Managing Director, Chair of Council, the International Society of Hematology, Chair, Thai CML Patient Group, stated that the foundation of the patient programme had allowed patients to have access to expensive medicines when there were no other options for treatment.

“It’s estimated that CML affects one in 200,000 adults and daily medicine intake is a must. The patient programme founded by Novartis was set up to provide cancer medicines at no cost for patients that could not pay for the treatment,” said Prof. Dr. Jootar.

Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumours (GIST) are a rare, life threatening type of cancer of the soft tissue in the digestive system. Research in Thailand is ongoing regarding the incidence rate in Thailand but those patients affected are now able to gain access to medicines via the GIPAP programme.

Professor Dr. Virote Sriuranpong, Managing Director, President of the Thai Society for Clinical Oncology, explained that access to imatinib medicine had had an impact.

“In patients whose tumour cannot be removed by surgery or for those whose cancer has spread to other locations in the body, imatinib is standard treatment controlling growth of the cancer. Clinical studies after nine years have shown that about 35 per cent of patients survive following medication while 20 per cent need ongoing treatment, “said Prof. Dr Sriuranpong.

Thomas Weigold, Regional Head of Oncology for Novartis, explained that the GIPAP programme has provided more than 3.3 billion baht of medicine to the patients suffering from these two cancers in Thailand.

“Novartis has a mission to transform outcomes for people living with cancer. Enabling access to our innovative medicines is essential to achieve this,” said Weigold.

Country Manager for Thailand for Novartis, Richard Abela, said that his company had ongoing community initiatives to highlight its commitment to Thailand and to improving the lives of patients.

“12 years after it began, this patient programme continues to help patients gain access to cancer treatments and continues Novartis’ pledge to put patients first,” said Mr Abela.

From left to right:

1. Mr. Thomas Weigold, Regional Head of Oncology for Novartis
2. Dr. Siriwat Thiptharadol, Advisor to the Minister of Public Health
3. Professor Dr. Saengsuree Jootar, Managing Director, Chair of Council, the International Society of Hematology, Chair, Thai CML Patient Group
4. Jirapon Chaimongkon, President of Thai CML Patient Group.
5. Netnapis Suchonwanich, Assistant Secretary General at the National Health Security Office
6. Richard Abela, Country Manager for Thailand for Novartis
7. Professor Dr. Virote Sriuranpong, Managing Director, President of the Thai Society for Clinical Oncology

Reference :
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