In a first, Goa govt offers breast cancer patients Rs 4.2 lakh drug free, ET HealthWorld


Panaji: Breast cancer patients seeking treatment at Goa Medical College, Bambolim, will now have free access to the fixed-dose Pertuzumab-Trastuzumab combination drug, which costs Rs 4.2 lakh.

Health minister Vishwajit Rane said Goa is the first state in the country to incorporate this drug into the treatment protocol and to provide the same free of cost to patients. The drug was launched at GMC on Sunday, World Cancer Day.

This injectable drug is administered to HER2-positive breast cancer patients under the skin, with intravenous chemotherapy, offering a streamlined alternative to the conventional hour-long intravenous drip. It not only enhances patient comfort, but also ensures a more efficient delivery of the therapeutic agents.

A patient was administered the dose under the supervision of head of its oncology department, Dr Anupama Borkar, in the presence of Rane, dean Dr Shivanand Bandekar and other senior doctors.

The drug has been introduced by Roche healthcare under the brand name Phesgo, Rane said. He said that the drug will be provided free to eligible patients at GMC, by the state govt.

“We are proud to announce the introduction of the Pertuzumab-Trastuzumab fixed drug combination at GMC, marking a significant breakthrough in breast cancer treatment. This innovative approach, administered subcutaneously, not only enhances patient comfort but exemplifies our commitment to advancing cancer care. This wonder drug is now available free of cost for patients, marking a unique initiative in India and creating an opportunity for curing the disease and curbing patients at an earlier stage, ultimately saving lives,” Rane said.

He said that the drug can treat breast cancer in its early stages.

“Our strong commitment to pushing forward with new and advanced treatments ensures that everyone can benefit from the latest medical solutions. This marks a big change in how we fight breast cancer, bringing in a new era of hope and healing for women all across the country,” he said.

Rane said that around 12 patients will benefit annually from this initiative.

Borkar said that the particular drug is administered to patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer, prior to surgery.

She said that the combination will not only contribute to the efficacy of breast cancer treatment but also simplify the therapeutic process for patients.

“The subcutaneous administration reduces treatment duration and offers a more patient-friendly experience. The benefits are more and the cure rates are higher, while the chance of disease recurrence is lower,” she said.

“We will take patients where the disease is not spread to distant organs, where it is confined to breasts and lymph nodes, give the injection, shrink the size, and then do surgery that is least disfiguring to the patients.” she added.

Soon after pertuzumab-trastuzumab was launched by Rane at GMC, the same was trending on X, formally Twitter, with nearly 10,000 posts with #Goa4BestCancerCare.

The state has screened one lakh women over the past two years for breast cancer using the non-invasive and radiation-free iBreast exam, of which 52 were detected with cancer. Now, the state has set a target to scan 1.5 lakh more women over the next one and a half year.

  • Published On Feb 5, 2024 at 01:43 PM IST

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