By Chioma Obinna
Pfizer Country Manager and Cluster Lead West Africa, Pharm. Olayinka Subair recently explained the rationale behind Pfizer’s commitment towards closing the affordability gap to quality healthcare, which is to improve patients’ lives through the provision of access to innovative healthcare products.
Subair said as a patient-focused pharmaceutical multinational, Pfizer has been consistent for over 170 years in collaborating with healthcare providers, governments, and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable healthcare around the world for patients best outcomes.
Speaking in a press statement Subair hinted that on the various efforts of the pharmaceutical company in bringing sound healthcare closer to the people across communities.
“Applying our science and global resources to bring therapies to patients in a way that extends and significantly improves their lives is what we strive for as we set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development, and manufacture of healthcare products, including innovative medicines and vaccines.
“Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time.
“Guided by our three pillars of innovation, investing and safeguarding, we constantly focus on serving the communities in which we live and work, broadening access to medicines and strengthening healthcare delivery for the people who need it most.”
Continuing, he said to close the patient affordability gap and increase patient access to much-needed oncology treatments, they partnered with the American Cancer Society and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) on a groundbreaking market access agreement for access to cancer treatments. He said the aim of the partnership was to reduce the price of 16 priority and quality-assured medicines by almost 50 per cent in six countries in Africa.
“Since the launch of the programme in 2019, he said several patients have accessed life-saving chemotherapy treatment.
“Our Project Taksit, a novel payment program (in partnership with mPharma) enables patients to pay via instalments. Project Taksit is providing patients with immediate access to their medication while enabling them to pay over 30 days with the majority of the enrollees being patients paying out of pocket and insured patients whose plan is not covering the full length of hospital stay. The program is running in more than 20 Hospitals with plans to scale up”.
He further mentioned another programme launched by Pfizer- Project Afya, a patient assistance programme aimed at improving access to life-saving medications and boosting cancer care and autoimmune disease management. Project Afya is supporting patients suffering from two disease areas namely oncology (specifically breast cancer) and rheumatoid arthritis in low income urban and rural areas. In partnership with IQVIA, the platform is helping to reduce therapy costs for eligible patients with the support of the government’s health insurance in collaboration with key partners such as NGOs and charities.
“The Project Afya is particularly significant for a country such as Nigeria where research shows that breast cancer accounts for 16.4 per cent of the cancer mortality rate, followed by cervical cancer (12 per cent) and prostate cancer (11 per cent) and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid is a significant medical condition in Nigeria, affecting mostly women. Project Afya is aimed at alleviating some of the pressure on the country’s already overburdened healthcare system, where large numbers of people need greater access to specialized medicines. Addressing this healthcare gap will go a long way towards improving treatment outcomes.
“Pfizer has commissioned health information technology and clinical research company, IQVIA, to implement the programme throughout Nigeria in partnership with NGO’s and charities. The programme is made up of four prongs: referral, enrolment, eligibility assessment and improved access.
“The process will see healthcare providers introducing and referring patients to the programme. Patients will then contact IQVIA to book an appointment and present relevant information. IQVIA will then assess them and offer a discounted payment scheme based on their annual income. Patients will then be issued with unique voucher cards to enable them to access their medication from pharmacies.”