Drugs for Children who Need Them

Pediatricians who treat cancer are poised to petition the World Health Organization to add leukemia medicines for children to the WHO essential drugs list, according to a February 16, 2004 report to the Agence de Presse Medicale. If the WHO does this, it could make a huge change for many families around the world.

This would mean that certain chemotherapy medicines would be available at a selectively lower cost in developing nations. The medicines in question are mostly older, proven, generic medications, not the brand new ones that recently required major investments from drug companies. And what a difference this could make!

In the developed world we now cure about 75 percent of leukemia in children. But this great success is not shared in the developing world.

Currently, about 80 percent of the world’s children with cancer still do not get treatment. Without treatment, leukemia is fatal. I applaud the International Society for Pediatric Oncology for taking steps to make this inexpensive treatment available to suffering children everywhere.

Published on: February 23, 2004
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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