Pa­tients call for a wider range of drugs on list for re­im­burse­ment

China Daily European Weekly - - Spotlight - By WANG XIAODONG

About 80 per­cent of liver can­cer pa­tients in China would like to see a wider range of treat­ments in­cluded in the re­im­burse­ment lists of ba­sic med­i­cal in­sur­ance pro­grams, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey of 300 fam­ily mem­bers of liver can­cer pa­tients na­tion­wide.

More than half of those sur­veyed said the pa­tients are most in need of drugs that can ef­fec­tively re­lieve pain and pro­long life, ac­cord­ing to the on­line sur­vey, which was con­ducted by Life Times, a health news­pa­per in Bei­jing, in Fe­bru­ary and March.

The re­sults were pub­lished last month.

Most of the pa­tients cov­ered by the sur­vey were age 50 or older, and 55 per­cent said they were al­ready in the late or ter­mi­nal stages of liver can­cer when they were di­ag­nosed.

More than half of the pa­tients said they only sought med­i­cal advice after ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a pe­riod of phys­i­cal dis­com­fort, and only 10 per­cent were di­ag­nosed dur­ing reg­u­lar phys­i­cal check­ups.

About 3 per­cent had been mis­di­ag­nosed once.

Nearly 70 per­cent said they did not pay enough at­ten­tion to warn­ing signs and symp­toms dur­ing the early stages of the dis­ease.

Nearly 60 per­cent of those sur­veyed said their lives had been dis­rupted by hav­ing a fam­ily mem­ber with liver can­cer, and they were un­able to ob­tain ad­e­quate rest.

More than 40 per­cent of the rel­a­tives spent all of their time after work car­ing for the pa­tient.

More than 51 per­cent said they had ex­pe­ri­enced heavy fi­nan­cial pres­sure as a re­sult of high treat­ment costs, while just 4.7 per­cent said they had ex­pe­ri­enced very lit­tle pres­sure.

Wu Jianxiong, di­rec­tor of the hep­a­to­bil­iary depart­ment at the Can­cer Hospi­tal of the Chi­nese Academy of Med­i­cal Sciences, says China has one of the high­est in­ci­dences of liver can­cer in the world, ac­count­ing for more than half of all new cases glob­ally ev­ery year.

A ma­jor rea­son for the in­creased in­ci­dence of the dis­ease in China is the high num­ber of pa­tients with hep­ati­tis B and C, which are both prone to de­velop into can­cer.

Liver can­cer is dif­fi­cult to de­tect in the early stages, which re­sults in many pa­tients miss­ing the op­por­tu­nity for ef­fec­tive treat­ment, he says.

Wu sug­gested that peo­ple at higher risk, such as those with hep­ati­tis B and other liver con­di­tions, should have reg­u­lar check­ups.

He added that good di­etary habits and a healthy life­style can help to pre­vent the dis­ease from de­vel­op­ing.


Re­searchers work in Yan­tai, Shan­dong prov­ince, in Novem­ber in the labs of Luye Pharma Group Ltd, which sells drug treat­ments for con­di­tions in­clud­ing can­cer and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.

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