Zimbabwe: 'Reduce Cancer Drugs Profit Margins'

Anti-cancer vaccine (file photo).

Retail pharmacists should not put profit margins of more than 20 percent when selling cancer-related drugs.

The recommendation was made by Pharmaceutical and Chemical Distributors (Pvt) Ltd marketing manager Mr Max Ngwenya on the sidelines of a donation for some chemotherapy drugs worth $387 000 to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.

He said cancer medicines were generally expensive and huge profit margins would make them unaffordable to many.

"Cancer drugs are very expensive such that sometimes patients might think that they have been overcharged when in true sense the retail pharmacy would have put a small margin," said Mr Ngwenya.

He said for that reason, suppliers recommended profit margins of about 20 percent.

"Response from retailers has been good, though some have been putting 25 percent profit margin, but we also feel it is within the range," said Mr Ngwenya.

He said while their emphasis was on cancer drugs because of the high costs associated with them, they also encourage pharmacists to apply the same principle when costing the rest of their products.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, accounting for 8,8 million deaths in 2015. In men, lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach and liver cancers are most common while in women breast, cervical, colorectal, lung and stomach cancers are more prevalent.

In Zimbabwe, over 7 000 new cases are diagnosed annually though more cases are anticipated to be going unreported as patients do not seek treatment. Of late prices of pharmaceutical products, cancer drugs included, had gone beyond the reach of many.

CancerServe Trust board chair and founding member Dr Anna Mary Nyakabau called on all stakeholders to join hands in fighting the cancer scourge.

"The cancer cause needs much more, we need to accelerate all our efforts, to see to it that we mitigate the suffering of cancer patients in Zimbabwe," said Dr Nyakabau.

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