‘Remove criteria to trastuzumab accessibility’


KUALA LUMPUR: While a patient group and an oncologist welcome the big price drop of trastuzumab, a breast cancer drug for HER2-positive patients, they urge the Health Ministry to remove the limiting criteria for selecting HER2+ patients to be treated.

Instead, they said HER2-positive patients should be given the choice to be treated regardless of age and cancer stage.

Breast cancer Welfare Association president Ranjit Kaur said that the association applauded the Health Ministy’s determination in seeking solutions and bringing accessible and affordable cancer treatment to Malaysians.

“There should be no discrimination,” she said, adding that before the price drop, the access to the expensive treatment was given based on patients’ chance of recovery such as age and stage of the disease. This is due to limited budget allocations.

Malaysian Oncological Society past president Datuk Dr Ibrahim Wahid said with the lower price, the government can afford to offer the treatment to more patients.

“For instance, patients who have stage 1 to 3 breast cancers (in absence of detectable cancer cells but there is concern that there could be cancer cells floating in the blood), should be given trastuzumab as an additional treatment to reduce the risk of relapse, said the consultant clinical oncologist.

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