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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

AstraZeneca leader talks the power of uniting our voices and taking action on World Cancer Day

Health Industry Hub | February 6, 2023 |

Cancer remains the leading cause of death in Australia. With a multi-year campaign, the World Cancer Day theme is Close the Care Gap. Last year the campaign focussed on ‘Realising the problem’ by recognising the inequities in cancer care. In 2023, the focus is on ‘Uniting our voices and taking action’.

Heather Cahill, Oncology Business Unit Director at AstraZeneca, joined Health Industry Hub in reflecting on her personal passion working in this area and AstraZeneca’s broader commitment to cancer care.

Last week, Cancer Australia released its national audit data on cancer research funding with investment increasing more than 3-fold to $934 million in the last 15 years. However, the report did not capture industry funded research. Keeping in mind the company’s bold ambition to bring 10 new oncology medicines to market by 2023, Heather discussed AstraZeneca’s contribution to cancer research locally and globally.

In November 2022, Cancer Australia also led a consultation on the draft Australian Cancer Plan (ACP) to improve outcomes for people impacted by cancer.

Minister Mark Butler said at the time “Every Australian affected by cancer should have access to the best treatment and supportive care.”

Professor Keefe, CEO of Cancer Australia, commented “It is our aim that the Australian Cancer Plan resonates with every person affected by cancer, and everyone engaged in the cancer sector.”

There are significant inequities in cancer outcomes among specific groups in our society, including First Nations People and Australians living in regional, rural and remote areas. Heather commented on the role of pharma companies like AstraZeneca in working with diverse stakeholders to reduce these gaps in cancer care, including two key projects that have enhanced access to lung and prostate cancer care for many patients.

In AstraZeneca’s consultation submission to the draft Australian Cancer Plan (ACP), the company was particularly supportive of certain areas of change. However, Heather elaborated on the major gaps that still need to be addressed in the draft ACP to ensure timely and equitable access to innovative cancer therapies.

In reimagining healthcare across the entire patient journey, Health Industry HubTM is the only one-stop-hub bringing the diversity of Pharma, MedTech, Diagnostics & Biotech sectors together to inspire meaningful change.

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