Pfizer Malaysia announced the launch of V-Care, a patient assistance programme to support EGFR-positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients’ treatment continuity for improved outcome and better quality of life. Through this programme, advanced lung cancer patients can better plan their finances and gain access to innovative medical treatment.
In Malaysia, the cost of lung cancer care remains a barrier, preventing patients from seeking effective medical treatment. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could worsen the existing financial vulnerabilities of cancer patients who may be experiencing a double financial blow, both from cancer-induced financial toxicity as well as economic strains arising from loss of income and prolonged unemployment due to the pandemic. Financial toxicity is a term coined to describe the harmful financial burden experienced by people with cancer, encompassing both the objective financial burden and subjective financial distress.
The financial distress brought about by a cancer diagnosis may not only have a negative impact on patients’ treatment options, and adherence to treatment, but also lead to deterioration in the quality of life and psychological well-being of patients and their families. In the effort to cope with the financial strains, many cancer patients have reported remedying rising costs by limiting medication use and skipping clinic appointments.
V-CARE: PFIZER’S PATIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME EXPAND ACCESS TO INNOVATIVE TREATMENT
At the virtual media launch, Dato’ Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim Wahid, Consultant Clinical Oncologist emphasised the importance of access to treatment options and professional guidance to the risks and benefits. “I understand that affordability remains one of the main barriers faced by patients when it comes to lung cancer treatments. There are several financing options in Malaysia that support lung cancer patients, for example, government hospitals, SOCSO & EPF, insurance and patient assistance programmes such as V-Care. Speak to your doctor to learn more.”
The delays and disruption of timely access to cancer care could lead to patients presenting with worsened conditions and at more advanced cancer stages. In Malaysia, the movement control order that was enforced may also have aggravated the rates of unemployment, loss of income and the limited access to support from family or friends.
“Pfizer is committed to supporting lung cancer patients throughout their treatment journey, including financial needs. Our approach to expanding patient’s access to innovative treatment is informed by two core principles: that medicines help people live longer, healthier, more productive lives; and that patients should have affordable access to the medicines they need,” said Ms Luksanawan Thangpaibool, Country Manager, Pfizer Malaysia & Brunei.
“Today we are proud to launch the V-Care programme in Malaysia, to put effective treatments in the hands of those who need it so that patients can live their lives to the fullest,” added Ms Luksanawan Thangpaibool, Country Manager, Pfizer Malaysia & Brunei.
Patients are advised to consult their doctor to learn more about the type of support and financial help available including patient assistance programs such as V-Care.