Abu Dhabi pharma event to discuss US$556 million annual cost of cancer treatment in the Middle East

Sunday 28 July 2019
Abu Dhabi - MENA Herald:

CPhI Middle East & Africa, the leading global pharmaceutical event, will address the growing demand for innovative medicines and drugs to treat cancer patients, during the opening day panel discussions, when the event returns to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 16-18 September.

Key features of the Spotlight on Oncology and the Future Trends session will include the latest developments in screening and treatment across the Middle East region, the balancing act between cost pressures and innovation, and the experiences from the global market.

According to statistics from medical research and consultancy firm IQVIA, health authorities and private practices across the Middle East spend US$556 million annually on cancer treatment, the market is currently being driven by the growth in the cost of targeted therapies which account for 73% of total Middle East sales.

Cara Turner, Brand Director – Pharma, UBM EMEA, the organisers of the event, said: “In recent years, we have seen several launches of targeted cancer treatments take place in the Middle East region. Health authority recognition of the benefits these new drugs offer has helped underscore the innovation-rewarding nature of the region, both from a targeted oncology therapy perspective, but also from a wider pharmaceutical standpoint.”

Despite the increase of new drugs and targeted therapy launches for cancer treatments, there are still several gaps in cancer care in the Middle East. Issues include a time lag between FDA approval and launch in Middle East markets, with Lebanon, UAE and KSA taking up to 1.5 years, 1.8 years and 2.4 years respectively.

Other factors include a lack of cancer awareness, which has led to health professionals underestimating the scale of the problem, a lack of advanced diagnostics centres, late-stage diagnosis, and limited access to appropriate treatment. This is in addition to several issues relating to continuity of care due to affordability – an issue which is prominent in Egypt, Lebanon and with GCC expats – as well as patient support infrastructure and inconsistent treatment. 

On a global scale, spending on cancer treatments is expected to reach US$200 billion by 2022, with the number of medicines in clinical development increasing the opportunities for continued advancement. Looking ahead, advances in technology and the use of information will have a direct impact on treatment and costs over the next decade. 

At CPhI Middle East & Africa, oncology will be discussed by industry experts including Dr. Sawsan Al Madhi, Director General of Friends of Cancer Patients; Tamer Ali, Commercial Head Saudi Arabia and Oncology Practice Lead, IQVIA; Manel Chikh, CEO Zaphyr Pharmaceuticals; and Khaled Fahim, Medical Manager, Merck Middle East.

“During the discussion, key topics such as oncology pricing, purchasing, patient support programs, treatment management and the effectiveness of cancer apps to support patients will all be debated to determine the best practices for the region’s cancer treatment market,” said Turner.

In addition to oncology on day one, CPhI Middle East & Africa, which recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) and will see the government agency sponsor and partner with the conference, will focus on a further two days of discussion targeting the most important issues impacting the Middle East & Africa pharmaceutical market.

Over 294 local, regional and international exhibitors from more than 35 countries are expected to attend the three-day showcase. In addition to the global network of exhibitors, the event is expected to attract over 4,900 participants, more than 50 per cent of which will come from the Middle East & Africa region.

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