Wednesday, June 19, 2024

AKUH, Novartis Pakistan and PBS Join Forces to Provide Targeted Therapy to Cancer Patients

The Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) and the Patients Behbud Society for AKUH (PBS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Novartis Pakistan to provide access to quality targeted therapy treatment to cancer patients without financial means and who come from humble background.

Patients suffering from Breast Cancer, blood cancer like CML, MPNs & GvHD will benefit from the partnership. The announcement came during an official signing ceremony held at the University Hospital premises in Karachi.

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Every year, over 100,000 people in Pakistan are diagnosed with various types of cancers. Among these, breast, lung, and colorectal cancers are the most commonly diagnosed. Under an MOU, Novartis will provide free-of cost medicines to AKUH, covering partial treatment for needy patients. PBS will then cover the remaining treatment cost. This initiative offers hope for a cure and improved health, allowing patients to lead productive lives after treatment.

Dr. Farhat Abbas, CEO, AKUH, Mr. Arif Tahir, CEO Novartis Pakistan and Mr. Abdul Qadir Memon, President of PBS signed and exchanged the MoU. Other senior officials from both sides were also present to witness the ceremony.

Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Farhat Abbas, CEO, AKUH, said: “AKUH endeavours to provide access to our health care services for needy patients who may not, on account of financial constraints, be able to afford our regular Hospital charges. Patients who receive financial support receive the same level of care as all other patients. Last year alone we spent more than PKR 5.8 billion on welfare programmes. Our oncologists and other experts aim to provide the best possible treatment to patients and we plan to increase our capacity to treat more patients.

Commenting on the partnership, Arif Tahir, Country President and CEO Novartis Pakistan said: "I am very excited about our partnership with the Aga Khan University Hospital Karachi and the impact it can create for patients. Novartis seeks to work with all stakeholders to improve access to medicines for patients. Development of and timely access to new medicines requires a strong innovation ecosystem. This collaboration is a significant step in this direction accelerating our ongoing efforts to expand access to cutting-edge oncology treatments for Pakistani patients. I am particularly happy of what this partnership brings to women suffering from Breast Cancer in terms of overall survivorship and quality of life. Together with the Aga Khan University Hospital, we are committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of our patients."

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Mr. Abdul Qadir Memon, President, The Patients` Behbud Society for AKUH, appreciated Novartis Pakistan’s support and said: “It is indeed heartening to see our partners like Novartis Pakistan coming forward to help mustehiq patients by donating expensive cancer drugs. The more we collect zakat and sadaqat, the greater we can serve such needy patients, with ever more barakaat to the givers of this charity.”

Dr. Zehra Faddo, Departmental Head Oncology, AKUH, said: “Disparity in care is a major challenge across the world with the cost of treatment a major contributor in low middle-income countries like Pakistan. Program like this partnership with AKUH & Novartis, helps doctors reduce this gap in treatment outcome of those with cancer and blood diseases by providing highly effective drugs for their patients who may otherwise would not have been able to benefit from them.

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