Global pharmaceutical companies, Cipla Ltd and Pfizer, have partnered with the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) to increase access to lifesaving cancer treatment in six African countries.

The collaboration aims to expand access to 16 essential cancer treatment medications, including chemotherapies, into Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.

The agreements will set competitive prices on the medicines, thus allowing African governments to realise substantial savings while improving the quality of available treatment.

“The foundation of Cipla is built on its commitment to increase accessibility of affordable and quality medicines to all citizens, so this collaboration is exactly in line with what the company stands for,” said CEO of Cipla Medpro, Paul Miller.

The collaboration is part of a broader effort led by the ACS and supported by the CHAI to improve the market environment for cancer care in Africa.

Commenting on this partnership, CEO of the ACS, Gary M Reedy, said: “Every person with cancer deserves access to treatment, no matter where they live. Collaborating with companies like Pfizer and Cipla is a critical next step toward levelling the playing field for people with cancer and saving lives in this part of the world.”

According to a statement released by the ACS, the cancer burden is mounting in sub-Saharan Africa and deaths remain high due to late diagnosis and lack of treatment. In 2012, there were an estimated 626,000 new cases of cancer and 447,000 cancer deaths in the region. Deaths from cancer are expected to almost double by 2030 due to aging populations.

“These alarming statistics indicate that there is a definite need for increased access to cancer medication in Africa, and this collaboration is a step in the right direction. Cipla is very proud to be associated with these organisations to improve the lives of cancer patients in Africa,” concluded Miller.

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