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Government now approves Janssen’s Prostate Cancer drug

 ZYTIGA has also received international recognition as a broad indication treatment drug for prostate cancer. [Courtesy]

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) has approved the use of the prescription drug, ZYTIGA, for the treatment of newly-diagnosed metastatic prostate cancer.

ZYTIGA also referred to as abiraterone acetate will now be used for the treatment of metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer before a chemotherapy regime.

The approval is expected to help boost ongoing efforts to minimise existing barriers to cancer care access.

Janssen Kenya Country Manager Mr. Marseille Onyango while lauding the approval said, ZYTIGA had only been licensed for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer; commonly referred to as metastatic castrate resistance prostate cancer. 

Addressing medical professionals at a Nairobi hotel, Onyango confirmed that ZYTIGA had progressively received international recognition as a broad indication treatment drug for prostate cancer.

“Globally, Janssen Pharmaceutical is dedicated to delivering therapeutic options with exceptional services, Mr. Onyango said.

Earlier this year, Janssen Kenya had also received the nod from the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) which has listed ZYTIGA as a reimbursable innovator drug to enhance access of the crucial drug for local prostate cancer patients.

“The local approval by the board helps fill a critical medical need, providing local physicians with an important tool for treating men with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer," he said.

Janssen Kenya Country Medical Affairs Manager Dr Eric Muchangi expressed optimism that the drug will provide much-needed relief for prostate cancer patients and their families.

"ZYTIGA works by inhibiting the enzyme complex required for the production of androgens in the testes, adrenals, and the prostate tumor tissue. Having ZYTIGA as a new therapeutic option in Kenya will provide hope for patients with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer and their families as they continue to battle the disease,”said Dr Muchangi.

Earlier this year, NHIF Claims and Benefits Manager, Mrs Judy Otele, hailed the Janssen Kenya Prostate cancer access project for helping NHIF to negotiate the price reduction of ZYTIGA. 

The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson envisions a world where cancer is a preventable, chronic or curable disease and is focused on developing solutions that prolong and improve patient lives.

To ensure a coordinated response to the disease, the National Cancer Control Strategy (NCCS) 2017-2022 was developed to guide all stakeholders supporting cancer control in the country.

The strategy has five pillars namely prevention, early detection and screening, diagnosis, registration and surveillance, treatment, palliative care and survivorship, coordination, partnership and financing and monitoring, evaluation and research.

Cancer ranks third as a killer disease after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases.

It is estimated that there are 40,000 new cases annually and approximately 28,000 cancer-related deaths every year.

More than 70 per cent of cancer cases are diagnosed at a late stage when treatment outcomes are poor and palliative care is usually the only management amenable.

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