Though humanitarian donations are clearly not the only answer to the complex challenges facing the global oncology community, they do have a critical role to play in reducing inequities in care and extending the lives of certain populations whose local economies and health systems remain years or decades away from facilitating solutions on their own.
In a recent commentary published in the Journal of Global Oncology, co-authors Pat Garcia-Gonzalez MA, Gilberto Lopes MD, Erin Schwartz MSW, and Lawrence Shulman MD, clearly outline the need and efficacy of humanitarian donation programs using lessons learned from the success of joint access initiatives between Novartis and The Max Foundation.
In addition to providing concrete evidence for the need and efficacy of humanitarian donation programs, the paper also demonstrates the terrible human cost that would result from their absence. Garcia-Gonzalez and her co-authors write:
“…in this era of globalization, we are leaving our friends behind and they know it. There is only one thing worse than hearing your loved one is diagnosed with cancer. It is to be told that there is a treatment that could help, but because of the place where you live, your loved one cannot access it and will therefore die a premature and avoidable death.”