Since 1 January the Estonian Health Insurance Fund has been compensating six modern anticancer drugs, which people previously had to purchase relying on the help of the Cancer Treatment Foundation and other charitable funds.
The medicines are for the treatment of lung, bone marrow, stomach, oesophageal and kidney tumours, lymphoma and leukaemia. According to the Health Insurance Fund, around 200 people per year require these specific medicines.
"We welcome the fact that these treatments, which to date people have had to rely on the help of donors in order to buy, are now being covered under state health insurance,” said Toivo Tänavsuu, the head of the cancer treatment foundation ‘The Gift of Life’. “Four out of six drugs are known to us here at the foundation. Over time we’ve purchased these medications for many people, thereby helping them to escape the abyss that the non-funding of the drugs would otherwise have left them in."
The following anti-cancer medicines have been compensated by the Health Insurance Fund since the start of the year:
- DARZALEX: for the treatment of multiple myeloma in adult patients
- KEYTRUDA: for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer patients and patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma. The fund has helped many patients with different diagnoses obtain this medication. Some of them are now getting treatment at the cost of the Health Insurance Fund; others continue to have to rely on the support of the Cancer Treatment Foundation.
- ZYKADIA: for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer
- XTANDI: for the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer. This medicine has been known to the foundation since 2015.
- QARZIBA: for the treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma. This is the medication which 8-year-old Annabel and 6-year-old Tauris obtained with the support of the fund, both of whom were declared free from the disease in spring 2018. ‘The Gift of Life’ and the Estonian Association of Parents of Children with Cancer, the organiser of the charity Duck Rally, contributed almost 250,000 euros to the treatment of the two children.
- BLINCYTO: for patients with lymphoblastic leukaemia. 35-year-old mother Maily was able to obtain this exorbitantly priced drug with the help of the fund in early 2018, but sadly succumbed to her illness.