St. Jude partners with WHO to boost access to childhood cancer medicines globally

The World Health Organization and Memphis, Tenn.-based St. Jude Children's Research Hospital announced a partnership Dec. 13 to create a platform that will increase childhood cancer medicine access around the world.

The initiative is called the Global Platform for Access to Childhood Cancer Medicines and will give an "uninterrupted" supply of childhood cancer medicines to low- and middle-income countries, according to a joint news release.

St. Jude is committing a six-year, $200 million investment to start the platform, which is the largest financial commitment for a global childhood cancer medicine effort, the release said. The medicines will be given to 12 countries in the two-year pilot phase for no cost. By 2027, the organizations expect to help 50 countries.

Between 2022 and 2027, the platform has the goal to provide cancer medicines to about 120,000 children, with the plan to expand in the future. It will consolidate global demand, help countries select medicines, create treatment standards and build information systems.

A survey published by WHO in 2020 found only 29 percent of low-income countries have cancer medicines available to their populations, versus 96 percent of high-income countries.

"WHO, St. Jude and partners will spare no efforts to get children's access to cancer medicines on track," said Bente Mikkelsen, MD, director of WHO's Department of Noncommunicable Diseases.

Read more here.

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