On February 4, the World Health Organization (WHO) called on member states to strengthen actions to reduce the impact of oncological pathologies in the context of World Cancer Day. The WHO pointed out the need to guarantee access to essential medicines and palliative treatments. and presented a report highlighting the priorities of WHO member country governments. In the same line, PAHO director Carissa Etienne drew attention to the work being done to “increase access to essential cancer treatment drugs through the agency’s Strategic Fund.”
In line with the WHO, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a report on cancer prevention and stressed the importance of “ensuring the availability of affordable essential medicines.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for greater efforts to be made to address the “unacceptable inequalities between rich and poor countries still persisting in the area of cancer treatment services.” In addition, Ghebreyesus said at least 7 million lives could be saved in the next decade if a “more country-appropriate scientific approach is identified and the various stakeholders are mobilized to work together.
On access to cancer drugs, PAHO estimates that newer treatments could have “marginal benefits” over older drugs, which they described as “highly effective” as they are off-patent.
In tune with the United Nations (UN) agencies, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) today published a survey of 15,000 respondents in 20 countries around the world, to ask “people what they feel, think and believe about cancer.” Some 33 percent of those surveyed felt that governments should ensure “that cancer services are more affordable, including screening, drugs, treatment and care.”