Current Affairs
Medicines for patients of incurable cancer should be listed in government formulary – cancer patient’s appeal

Each month Dr Lara Said has to apply to the Malta Community Chest Fund for a type of medicine that assists her to control the type of cancer she has.

Dr Said appealed in a TVM interview so that the medicine, called Daratumumab, is listed in the Government formulary because she feels that this will provide more consistency and stability in her treatment. She suggests that this change is made according to health experts’ advice in order to reduce anxiety among patients, who like her have to continuously experience this situation.

For 52-year old Lara Said, who has multiple myeloma which cannot be cured but can be controlled, Daratumumab medicine is the only choice she has to live longer. “Currently that is the only option I have”.

Malta University lecturer Dr Said told TVM that her treatment involves Pomalidomide, Dexamethasone and Daratumumab – the first two are given free by the Government through the formulary, while Daratumumab not. This makes her recur each time to the  Malta Community Chest Fund foundation to be given the medicine free, which costs thousands of euro. According to the foundation’s regulations, she and her doctors have to apply each month for funds.

“Daratumumab costs a lot – €633 every vial….the last I needed were 13, they were some 8,200 and I needed 1,200mg. Yes, I am requesting that the Government starts paying for Daratumumab as part of the formulary and other countries have done it – Spain, Italy, France and Germany.”.

She said that in the current circumstances the situation is not sustainable and is increasing anxiety among patients. Dr Said argued that the medicines list given by the government may be worked out differently. “This is a cost effective modell – the more treated patients with the needed medicines, you will decrease widely from other things, such as hospital stays, you live longer and work more and contribute to taxation”.

She appealed that the change is carried out according to the advice of health experts and patients.