x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Abu Dhabi committed to best cancer care

The region's cancer drug professionals have met to discuss treatments for the disease, which is one of the UAE's main killers.

ABU DHABI // The region's cancer drug professionals have met to discuss treatments for the disease, which is one of the UAE's main killers and is expected to increase dramatically in coming years. Speakers at the Oncology Pharmacy Practice Summit in the Middle East, held in Beirut, said the expected rise in cancer made cost reduction a big concern for health bodies.

But Dr Mohammed Abuelkhair, an adviser on drugs and medical products at the Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (HAAD), said the authority was committed to giving patients the best possible drugs available. "Our interest in governing drug use in Abu Dhabi goes beyond safety and efficacy. We want to see truly positive patient outcomes," Dr Abuelkhair told the summit last week. "We measure benefits against costs but the goal is to extend and improve the lives of patients.

"HAAD is committed to providing its residents with world-class health care, and that means our cancer centres, for example, must continue to introduce and comply with internationally developed cancer treatment protocols." Another expert at the summit said treatment providers would need to be flexible as a large number of cancer drugs were expected to come on to the UAE market soon. Pierre Anhoury, the senior vice-president (Europe) of MattsonJack, a Paris-based healthcare consultancy, said: "There is a tsunami of new cancer drugs in various stages of development which will come on to the Middle East market over the next few years. Accordingly, many treatment protocols which exist today will be outdated next year."

The most recent figures from the National Cancer Registry show that breast, blood and colon cancers are the most prevalent forms in the UAE. munderwood@thenational.ae