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Free drugs for cancer patients at Kenyatta National Hospital

Source: The Daily Nation

By EUNICE KILONZO

Wednesday March 29 2017

The first batch of patients in a public hospital to be treated with a breast cancer drug that can cure early stages of the disease will receive their first dose on Thursday.

About 20 patients will get the drug, Herceptin, for free at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH). Otherwise, they would have paid Sh250,000 for a dose, with a patient requiring at least 18 doses to be treated, a regimen that would cost close to Sh4.5 million.

This will be the first time the medicine is accessed and issued in a public facility, as it is available in some private hospitals in the country. The drug, given as an injection, targets a protein that fuels the growth of aggressive breast cancers which do not respond to treatment.

Breast cancer is the second most prevalent type in Kenya. In 2012, approximately 4,500 women had breast cancer, nearly half were below 50 years according to the Kenya Network of Cancer Organisations.

Ms Anne Ng’ang’a from the Ministry of Health, said the Herceptin Access programme is the result of a 2016 partnership between the government and Roche, an international pharmaceutical firm on a “co-funding mechanism”.

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