WHO and St. Jude addressing cancer medicine shortages in poor, middle-income countries

Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 10:53 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The World Health Organization (WHO) and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital announced an aggressive new plan to help children in poor to middle-income countries survive childhood cancer across the world.

St. Jude will make a six-year, $200 million investment to launch the Global Platform for Access to Childhood Cancer Medicines.

Survival from childhood cancer in wealthy nations averages 80 percent, but in lower to middle-income countries, it’s the 80 percent who do not make it. The new platform aspires to provide high-quality medications consistently in some 50 countries by 2027.

”And foremost, it does take access to those medicines that are required to treat those children, and it takes continuous access to those medicines so that they don’t have disruptions in treatment while they’re being treated for those cancers,” said Dr. James Downing, president and CEO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “Any disruptions in treatment, while they’re being treated for those cancers, Any disruption in that treatment increases the chances for relapse and death.”

St. Jude says an estimated 100,000 children worldwide die of cancer each year. St. Jude says its investment is the largest financial commitment for a global effort in childhood cancer medicines in history.

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