China’s Access To Cancer Therapy

A few weeks ago we had to generate a list of chemotherapy drugs for the Ministry Of Health in China. (One of the provinces) 

The request was to create a list of the top chemotherapy agents that our cancer centers would use. We reviewed the NCCN Guidelines, we reviewed the literature, and we discussed with patients and medical oncologists. We mapped the top cancer diagnosis locally to the drugs needed to provide the best outcomes while balancing side effects.  

We generated a list of about 500 chemotherapy drugs. We submitted the list to the local Ministry Of Health. They took a week to review the list. 

Of the 500 chemotherapy drugs listed on the list the Ministry Of Health only approved 50. 

Only 10% of the drugs we would/do use in the US are approved on the formulary in China. 

Now we have a bit more work. We are collaborating with the local government. Our collaboration will be to demonstrate the efficacy and medical literature to support the need for many of the drugs. 

Drugs that are tied to personal genomics or immunotherapy will take more time. This is due to genomic data being a national security issue for the Chinese Government. 

I’m in awe of the limited access patients have to the right treatment for the right diagnosis at the right time. 

The access of choice between dying from cancer to life after cancer. 

We will shift the paradigm. 

We will make it happen at the N of 1. 

As always you can feel free to email me at or follow me on Twitter @cancergeek



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