Cancer patients increasing in Gulf countries: Report

Updated 18 October 2014
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Cancer patients increasing in Gulf countries: Report

The Gulf countries marks an alarming rise in the number of cancer patients, according to a recent report.
The number of cancer patients in the GCC countries stood at 119,288 cases during 1998-2009 and the number is on the rise, said Executive Director of the Gulf Center for Cancer Prevention, Dr. Ali Al-Zahrani
In his statement released prior to the GCC’s upcoming conference on “Burden of Cancer in the Gulf Region” to be held on Tuesday, Dr. Al-Zahrani said the conference aims to highlight health complications related to cancer that have stricken both developed and underdeveloped countries.
According to him, cancer is the second biggest cause of death in the world.
The GCC Ministers of Health and the Gulf Center for Cancer at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSHRC) in Riyadh are organizing the International Medical Conference (IMC) under the aegis of the Acting Minister of Health Adel Fakeih to focus on the increasing numbers of cancer patients and their impact on the economy of the Gulf countries. The theme of the conference is “Bridging the Gaps” and will be held at the King Faisal Hall, Riyadh Intercontinental Hotel.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Tawfiq Khoujah, conference president, said one of the objectives of the event is to examine the impact of the growing incidence of cancer on the economy of GCC member countries and how early detection and screening of cancer patients for immediate treatment could be helpful in terms of saving the cost of treatment.
Dr. Koujah, who is also the Director-General of the Executive Office of the Council of Health Ministers in the GCC region, said that the high-profile event will review strategies for integrated treatment, and the role of those responsible for primary health care in the prevention and control of the non-communicable disease.
This will also enable public health awareness programs in the prevention and early detection of cancer through the development of research programs in the Gulf region and the establishment of a network for effective cooperation between oncologists, scientists and supporters of health care in the Gulf region.
According to Dr. Khouja, the biggest challenge in the treatment of cancer in the region is the need for a qualified and trained workforce to overcome the severe shortage of qualified medical personnel. They also need specialists in this field from the Gulf region as part of an integrated team (medical-nursing-diagnosis-therapeutic surgeons — radioactivity and rehabilitation).
He called for making optimal use of the resources not only to reduce costs, but also to facilitate the patient’s access to high quality health care on a continuing basis.
He added that the increased focus on health care has many benefits besides reducing the cost of treatment. Other advantages include better health care facilities for all members of the family.


Jazz Pharma’s sleep disorder treatment gets US FDA nod

Updated 21 March 2019
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Jazz Pharma’s sleep disorder treatment gets US FDA nod

  • The drug, solriamfetol, will treat excessive sleepiness in adult patients with narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea
  • The patent of Jazz's narcolepsy drug, Xyrem, were declared invalid by a US appeals court in July
The US Food and Drug Administration approved Jazz Pharmaceuticals Plc’s treatment for patients with a form of sleep disorder, the company said on Wednesday.
The drug, solriamfetol, will treat excessive sleepiness in adult patients with narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Solriamfetol is expected to be commercially available in the United States following the final scheduling decision by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Jazz said in a statement.
The approval comes as Jazz is trying to reduce its reliance on its blockbuster narcolepsy drug, Xyrem, whose patents were declared invalid by a US appeals court in July.
Xyrem is an approved treatment for excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy in patients with narcolepsy. It brought in sales of $1.4 billion in 2018 and accounted for about 70 percent of company’s revenue.
“Jazz is trying to reduce its reliance on Xyrem, and solriamfetol will be one of the drugs it plans to launch to do that,” Mizuho Securities USA analyst Irina Koffler said ahead of the agency’s decision.
“Solriamfetol is expected to be an important driver of both diversification and growth,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Randall Stanicky said in a note ahead of the approval.
Solriamfetol is expected to bring in revenue of $314 million by 2024, Stanicky said.
Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder with overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep, while obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder that can cause breathing to repeatedly stop and start.
“Narcolepsy is very disabling to people as they often get diagnosed young and stop their education and drop out of high school or college,” Koffler said.
“Sleep apnea is a different problem in the sense that a lot of people don’t know they have it, have trouble breathing at night and they even fall asleep during the day.”