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Government of Jamaica



Cancer Society & Urology Society welcome the additions

Male residents of Jamaica who are suffering from prostate cancer are to benefit from the addition of five drugs for the treatment of prostate cancer, to the National Health Fund (NHF) Individual Benefits Drug List. These drugs cover the active ingredients Goserelin, Leuprolide, Flutamide, Bicalutamide and Conjugated Estrogen.

The subsidies being offered by the NHF cover 30-50% of the cost of the drugs. A subsidy of $29,711.99 is offered per vial of Zoladex 10.8mg depot Injection, $9,904 per vial of Zoladex 3.6mg depot Injection, $4,768.41 for one vial of Lucrin or Lectrum 3.75mg depot injection. A subsidy of $355.02 per tablet is offered for Casodex 50mg tablets and $11.67 per tablet for Premarin 1.25mg tablets.

Mrs. Marva Lee, Administrative Director of the Jamaica Cancer Society says the addition of these drugs to the NHF Individual Benefits Drug List is great news for patients living with prostate cancer. She notes that treating cancer can be very expensive and this impacts on the resources of the family. The announcement she says is timely coming during Prostate Cancer Awareness Week 2005.

Dr. Willaim Aiken, President of the Jamaica Urological Society welcomes the addition of these drugs to the NHF Individual Benefits Drug List describing the additions as ?fantastic?. ?Drug therapy is the mainstay of treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer and the majority of cases seen in Jamaica are usually in the advanced stages,? he says. He notes that as a result of problems with affordability treatment options were limited such as the removal of the testicles or often men are treated with female hormones which have unpleasant side effects. The expansion of the drug list and the subsidies which are being offered by the NHF he says will ensure affordability of the more suitable drugs for the treatment of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting men in Jamaica and is the most common cause of cancer deaths in Jamaican men. It is estimated that 57 per 100,000 men per year in Jamaica have prostate cancer. 1,277 men are enrolled with the NHF and are obtaining significant assistance in purchasing their medication for prostate cancer.

Mr. Cecil White Vice President of Operations, NHF says efforts are being made to increase the enrolment of men with prostate cancer in order to reduce the burden associated with the cost of treating this condition. He says ?If it is estimated that only sixty percent of men who have prostate cancer are aware of their condition, then all men over 50 years old need to be screened to determine if they have prostate cancer and if they do, to enroll for the benefits available under the NHF in order to reduce the burden of treating the condition.?

New drug presentations as well as new drug labels for existing active ingredients were also added for other conditions covered by the NHF.

Contact: Rosemarie Lee

Public Relations Officer, 906-1106

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