By Scoop Reporter

THERE is need to regulating prices of hydroxyurea because some pharmaceutical companies are exploiting sickle cell disease patients with exorbitant prices which many ordinary citizens cannot afford, Zambian Childhood Cancer Foundation (ZACCAF) /Haemophilia Foundation of Zambia (HFZ) Chairperson Charity Pikiti has said.

Ms. Pikiti has told The Scoop in a statement today that there are some pharmaceutical companies that are selling this life saving drug at K15 per capsule and that the cheapest is K9.

She has wondered how many poor families can afford it, if for instance, a child takes three capsules per day as this translates to K1350 per month that is, excluding other additional medicines like folic acid, malaria drugs and other supplements like vitamins.

“In short, we are looking at this as an expensive management of a patient. How many people can afford this care life style? We know they are in business to make money but not through exaggerated prices on such a life-saving drug.

“Our appeal to the Government is actually make this feasible for us by changing policies that will favour our children living with sickle cell. This can be done by actually zero rating the taxes on hydroxyurea so that it can be affordable for every child,” Ms. Pikiti said.

She says if every patient with sickle cell disease can be put on hydroxyurea, it will reduce the crisis attacks and this will enable the Government to spend less on the care because of the reduced admissions in hospital facilities.

She says this can only be achieved by regulating prices on hydroxyurea so that every ordinary Zambian family with a child with sickle disease can afford to buy.

“Our families cannot afford treatments like the bone marrow transplant which is also not available in Zambia. So until then, we will rely on hydroxyurea as a life-saving drug for our children.

“We call upon every family with children living with sickle cell disease to raise their voices and push the agenda to make sure that access to treatment is feasible for everyone. Exploitation and capitalising on the condition of our children will not be tolerated anymore,” she said.

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