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Bridging the affordability gap, one patient at a time

By Olayinka Subair
28 October 2021   |   2:20 am
Applying our science and global resources to bring therapies to patients in a way that extend and significantly improve their lives is what we strive for as we set the standard for quality....


Applying our science and global resources to bring therapies to patients in a way that extend and significantly improve their lives is what we strive for as we set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development, and manufacture of health care 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.

Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world’s premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments, and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 170 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us.

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. To close the patient affordability gap and increase patient access to much needed oncology treatments, we partnered with the American Cancer Society and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) on a groundbreaking market access agreement for access to cancer treatments. The aim is to reduce the price of 16 priority and quality-assured medicines by almost 50 percent in six countries in Africa. Since the launch of the programme in 2019, several patients have accessed life-saving chemotherapy treatment.

In tackling the challenges of healthcare financing and access, our Project Taksit, a novel payment programme (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 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.

Pfizer also launched Project Afya, a patient assistance program 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 government’s health insurance in collaboration with key partners such as NGOs and charities.

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 over-burdened 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 program 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 health care 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 access their medication from pharmacies.

Universal healthcare coverage in Nigeria has faced serious setbacks with majority of the populace paying out of pockets. The breakthrough therapies offered by Pfizer through Project Afya are aimed at extending and significantly improving the lives of people. The various patient assistance programs are intended to help patients start, stay on and complete their treatments. The program forms part of Pfizer’s relentless drive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines.
•Subair is the Country Manager and Cluster Lead West Africa at Pfizer

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