4 drugs join low-cost scheme

Four expensive medicines for breast cancer, hepatitis C and leukemia have been added to the national drug lists.

  • Published: 6/08/2014 at 06:00 AM
  • Newspaper section: news

The decision will improve access to the drugs by universal healthcare scheme members, especially low-income patients.

The National Health Security Office (NHSO) board, chaired by Charan Trinwuthipong yesterday approved the inclusion on the list of Trastuzumab for treatment of the early stages of breast cancer, and Peginterferon for hepatitis C treatment in HIV-infected people. Nilotinub and Dasatinib for leukemia treatment were also included.

The board's approval was based on a study from the Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Programme (Hitap), which found that adding the drugs to the essential medicine lists will reduce government spending over time compared with having patients in long-term care on other drugs.

The drugs could also help extend patients' lives. Trastuzumab can extend the life of a breast cancer patient from 9.11 years to 14.12 years, while Peginterferon for patients infected with HIV and hepatitis C can cut treatment costs by up to 317 million baht within five years, according to Hitap.

The NHSO's sub-committee for drugs list development approved the drugs on March 28 and forwarded the decision to the NHSO board for approval but the board could not hold the meeting for two months, due to political turmoil.

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Writer: Paritta Wangkiat
Position: Reporter

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