New group set up to monitor cancer treatment costs

Saudi Society of Clinical Pharmacy President Dr. Ahmed Al-Jedai, right, and AstraZeneca’s GCC Regional President Dr. Ismail Shehada during the signing of the agreement to establish SHARP. (Photo/Supplied)
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Updated 13 December 2019

New group set up to monitor cancer treatment costs

  • Cost of medical treatment for cancer has become a burden, with average cost per patient at SR1m

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has launched the Saudi Oncology Health Economics Expert Group (SHARP), the first initiative of its kind in the Middle East which will evaluate the costs of treatment and create a platform for cancer patients and survivors.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Saudi Society of Clinical Pharmacy (SSCP) and AstraZeneca on Thursday to establish SHARP, which will act as an consultancy council made up of clinical decision-makers when it comes to effective treatment measures.

“It was important to bring together a group of medical and economic experts who can give recommendations on how to evaluate costly treatment. The dependency and evaluation of these medications
should rest upon the value of the treatment, and not its cost,” AstraZeneca’s GCC cluster president Ismail Shehada said.

The cost of medical treatment for cancer has become a burden both to patients and to companies and hospitals. According to the Saudi
Oncology Society, the average cost
of treatment for a cancer patient is approximately SR1 million ($267,000) per year.

“This indirectly affects the patient’s interest,” said Shehada. By providing hospitals and decision-makers with a list of effective treatment, “You limit the process and time it takes for them to obtain new oncology treatment.”

Former cancer patients are also participating in SHARP. This platform will allow them to talk about their struggles, how they received their treatment, the time it took to receive it, and their input on what they thought pharmaceutical companies and the health sector could have done to help to facilitate better and faster treatment. This can help to improve health service quality and patient experience.

SHARP will include representatives of pharmacoeconomics, the science of comparing pharmaceutical drugs, from various health sectors including the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, National Guard Hospital, Ministry of Health, King Faisal Specialized Hospital.


Riyadh ‘Peace Declaration’ seen as game-changer for stability in Sudan

Updated 13 min 57 sec ago

Riyadh ‘Peace Declaration’ seen as game-changer for stability in Sudan

JEDDAH: As chair of the Friends of Sudan group, Saudi Arabia has called for an inclusive sustainable peace process for the country, the Kingdom’s envoy to Khartoum told Arab News.
Participants at the 8th Friends of Sudan meeting, convened via video conference on Wednesday, seized the opportunity to reaffirm their full commitment to Sudan’s Transitional Government in developing an inclusive and sustainable peace plan and economic reform program.
The group, chaired by Saudi Arabia, was represented by the Kingdom’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan. Along with their international partners, through the Riyadh Friends of Sudan meeting, expressing their full confidence in the civilian-led transition under the leadership of Prime Minister Dr. Abdullah Hamdok as they continue to prioritize a comprehensive and inclusive peace plan despite unforeseen challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Kingdom’s Ambassador to Sudan Ali bin Hassan Jafar, told Arab News that the meeting comes at a crucial time for the group and is the first to discuss the peace process at length.
In recognition of its mediation role, Saudi Arabia invited representatives of the government of South Sudan as honorary guests to attend the meeting for the first time following their constructive role in the Juba peace talks.
The high-level representation, led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of South Sudan, Ambassador Beatrice Khamisa Wani, and Chairman of South Sudan Government Committee for Peace Mediation in Sudan Tut Galuak, are a recognition for their role in advancing the Juba Peace Talks negotiations in good faith.
The Friends of Sudan welcomed the participation of the Sudan Revolutionary Front and the Sudan Liberation Movement in the meeting, recognized by the group as a sign of their goodwill and commitment and constructive engagement with the international community to work with Sudan’s Transitional Government to achieve sustainability and peace in their country.
“Great efforts have been made by Saudi Arabia with the help of its international partners at the Friends of Sudan meeting to call on all parties involved to come back to the negotiating table, appealing to them to realize the historic opportunity to reach consensus for sustainable peace talks that will ensure unity, stability and prosperity of Sudan,” said the ambassador.
The Friends of Sudan was established in 2018 as an informal group, and includes countries and organizations committed to joint action to provide support to the transitional government in the country.
Representatives attended the meetings and discussed the best means to coordinate support and work with Sudan’s transitional government to reach economic stability, prosperity and sustainable peace in the country’s critical time.
“The meeting served as a first achievement in the Friends of Sudan group, reaffirming their commitment to helping Sudan sustainable peace. Under Saudi Arabia’s initiative, the group issued the Riyadh declaration ‘Partners for Sustainable Peace in Sudan,” added the ambassador.
The declaration commended the resolution and resolve of most of the outstanding issues during the Juba Peace Talks, said the ambassador.
The road ahead will be challenging, the envoy added.
The Partners for Sustainable Peace in Sudan Declaration (Peace Declaration) expressed their concern that a number of parties remain outside the peace process. The ‘Peace Deceleration’ called on all parties to the conflict to engage in good faith in the peace process and refrain from counterproductive demands, cautioning that all spoilers to the peace process or the implementation of the Political Agreement and Constitutional Charter of Aug. 17, 2019, may have consequences imposed on them.
The inclusion of women and youth in the peace process and the transitional government was also stressed in the meeting.
The declaration reaffirms the group’s commitment and will to remain engaged and assist Sudan’s Transitional Government. Any obstruction to the peace process will prolong the suffering of the Sudanese people, the partners said.
As the world is a financial crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Friends of Sudan group urged in the meeting that parties to the peace talks be aware of Sudan’s economic challenges, prioritize demands that reflect the understanding and appreciation to these challenges and collaborate to find mutual and agreeable solutions.