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Cancer patients call for reduction in price of drugs

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Cancer patients in Lagos State have called on pharmaceutical companies to reduce the prices of cancer drugs to boost access to treatment.

Some patients and survivors, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in an interview on Tuesday, said that even after the surgery which costs a huge sum of money, they still had to buy expensive medicine for treatment.

A breast cancer survivor, Miss Patience Iruoha, said that she had already spent almost a million naira on drugs and had not even bought half of the drugs she needed.

Iruoha said that she had already taken eight sessions of chemotherapy at N100,000 each and still had eight more to go.

She said that purchasing the drugs at the high price was an uphill task for people who had been supporting them with funds before and during surgery.

``It has become increasingly difficult for my folks to keep buying drugs for me as it is digging a deep hole in their pockets", she said.

Iruoha said that if drug prices for HIV/AIDS could be slashed so that patients could afford them, the same could be done for cancer medication as the disease was also deadly.

Another cancer patient, Mrs Rafiat Adepoju, said that radiotherapy machines used by sufferers of the disease were not available in hospitals, adding that the only functioning one in Nigeria was at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.

She said that every cancer patient in Nigeria was referred to UCH which ought not to be because radiotherapy itself was very expensive and the cost of transportation to Ibadan for every appointment added to the financial burden

Adepoju called on the government to help provide hospitals with facilities to reduce the high number of people who succumbed to the disease.

``The government should help to provide cancer treatment facilities in our hospitals so that we can get access to treatment", she said.