4 August 2019

‘Pay or die’: the huge cost of cancer treatment

Saturday Star 03 August 2019 – The 2017 Cancer Medicines Report analysed the patent status, affordability and accessibility to 24 cancer medicines - 15 were available in India for less than half the price in the South African private sector. 

The report also found that 10 medicines not available in the South African public sector, likely because of high cost, were available in India for less than half the price. Cancer Alliance and Access to Medicine Campaign’s project manager, Salome Meyer, said 84% of the population could only access cancer treatment from the public sector, which is available at 10 treatment centres across the country. The remaining 14% access private health care and “many patients, when diagnosed, are faced with the reality that their scheme’s benefits are not enough and have to face exorbitant cost from their own pocket”, she said, adding, “Most of the schemes, if not all, have not increased their benefit for the last five years or more, while the cost of treatment has increased.” Of key concern to the Access to Medicine Campaign is the issue of patents, most of which are for 20 years and shut out competition from other medicines. For the article click here

Gauteng Health Budget a kickstart towards NHI

Sunday Independent 4 August 2019 – The Gauteng Department of Health has been allocated R50.8bn for the 2019/2020 financial year.

This being one of the largest allocations in the provincial government. The Gauteng population is the largest at 14.7 million. This year’s budget streamlines the resources in the department in a way that the 5 identified priority areas are adequately resourced and that the transformation happens successfully.

State control cut medicine costs significantly, study shows

Business Day 01 August 2019 - Single-exit price regulations aimed at easier access to private-sector medication and transparency in supply chain

The government’s controversial controls on private-sector medicine prices delivered immediate and sustained savings after they were implemented in 2004, according to research published earlier this week in peer-review journal PLOS ONE. The study found there was a significant drop in prices of innovator drugs and generic copies of those that were no longer patent protected. For the article click here

Science department throws its weight behind Biovac

Business Day 02 August 2019 - Biovac says a new tender run by the health department for 2020 has been structured in a way that could leave it out in the cold

The department of science and innovation says the state-backed vaccine developer Biovac has met its expectations, despite the fact that it has yet to manufacture any of its own shots more than 15 years after its inception. Earlier this week, it emerged that the health department is running a new tender that threatens Biovac’s income, raising questions about how the government sees the future of this venture. Click here for the article

How the government is rolling the dice on everyone’s health

Business Day 02 August 2019 - The fallout from a failed healthcare system will be catastrophic and there is no back-up plan

Now a grand plan to solve the public health system crisis has been launched with much fanfare. But it remains a plan, one that will only succeed if it can be implemented successfully. It seems the future of the entire health system is being bet on the government being able to implement its plan and turn the public health system around, without even waiting to see if it makes any difference. President Cyril Ramaphosa is indicating that the success of this plan will lead to the implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI), and the government is proceeding with the legislation to enable an NHI fund to be established. The question remains: what happens if the presidential health compact fails to fix public health care? Click here for the article

Discovery and Liberty head to court over rewards programme

Business Day 01 August 2019 - Discovery says Liberty has infringed Vitality's copyrights while Liberty says this is just a ploy to limit competition

Liberty CEO David Munro said during the presentation of the insurer’s results on Thursday that Discovery has taken it to court over Liberty’s recently launched wellness bonus benefit, saying it has infringed its Vitality trademark and alleged that it has launched unlawful competition. For the article click here

Regulation of conduct the next step in installation of Twin Peaks model

Business Day 31 July 2019 - Outcomes of Conduct of Financial Institutions Bill are broader than the Treating Customers Fairly Act and are not limited to retail

The Conduct of Financial Institutions Bill, which is expected to be tabled in parliament in 2019, is said to represent the next phase of legislation aimed at remodelling the financial sector framework towards a Twin Peaks model. This model is expected to replace and improve the conduct requirements in existing financial sector laws by addressing aspects of the current multipronged policy approach through building a market conduct legislative framework for all institutions performing financial activities. For the article click here

Slow-release ARV implant a ‘game changer development’

Medical Brief 31 July 2019 - An implant containing islatravir, which is inserted under the skin of the upper arm, should provide sustained levels of drug sufficient to prevent HIV infection for over a year.

Merck has formulated the drug as an implant, a small plastic insert that is placed under the skin of the upper arm, a technology already used by the same company for contraceptives, and which has also been tried with other anti-HIV medications such as tenofovir. For the article click here

Discovery stats show 70% of SA women are obese

Medical Brief 31 July 2019 - Globally 2.1bn people are overweight or obese, or just over 30% of the world’s population – however, says a Business Tech report.

New statistics published by Discovery Vitality show the situation is much worse in South Africa. “The big picture is worse in South Africa. Nearly 70% of South African women and 31% of South African men are overweight or obese,” said Dr Craig Nossel, head of Wellness at Vitality. “And worryingly, 13% of South African children are overweight, which is twice the global average,” he said. For the article click here

Migrants must be part of South Africa's universal health plan. Here's why

BizCommunity 31 July 2019 - South Africa is home to approximately 4 million international migrants.

But migrants living in South Africa struggle to access public services  including healthcare. The country’s existing law on migrant access to healthcare services is quite clear. It’s unlawful under the country’s Constitution to deny anyone, including migrants, access to healthcare services. The question, then, is will the NHI build on these provisions and make the situation better for international migrants? Or will the NHI be in contravention of South Africa’s constitutional commitment to the rights and protection of all who live in it? For the article click here

Eli Lilly lifts 2019 outlook on demand for newer drugs

Business Day 30 July 2019 - Higher demand for newer drugs offset increased discounts for the US Medicare programme and sales declines of medicines that have lost patent protection.

The drugmaker has been working to retain its position as a leader in diabetes care with newer drugs like Trulicity, Jardiance and Basaglar, as its top-selling insulin product Humalog faces increased competition and political pressure over the soaring cost of life-sustaining insulin. Lilly is counting on new drugs in other therapeutic areas to drive growth, such as Taltz for psoriasis and migraine treatment Emgality, which won US approval in 2018. For the article click here

Successful NHI implementation requires collaboration

BizCommunity 29 July 2019 - The successful implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) will rely on unified collaborations and effective political will, said Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

The evaluation report was the collaborative effort of a consortium led by Genesis Analytics (Genesis), with support from PriceWaterhouseCoopers Advisory (PwC), the Centre for Health Policy (CHP) at the University of Witwatersrand and Insight Actuaries and Consultants (Insight) at 10 pilots projects across the country. It is a culmination of a collaborative effort by government, civil society, business, private providers, academia and health professionals to develop a plan that includes clear objectives, timelines, indicators and financial resources to effectively address challenges in the sector. For the article click here

Publication date: 8/4/2019