The Ministry of Health of Mongolia, in collaboration with the National Medical Oncology Research Center (NMRC) and the Swiss pharmaceutical company F. Hoffmann-La Roche, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding. This agreement aims to introduce anti-tumor immunotherapy, a cutting-edge technology for systemic cancer treatment, in Mongolia.
Mongolia faces alarming statistics, leading not only in Asia but globally, in cancer morbidity and mortality, particularly from liver cancer. According to the Ministry of Health, 4,548 people succumbed to cancer in 2022, with 2,635 being men and 1,913 women.
For the past three years, Mongolia has been actively participating in the Swiss program known as “PACE,” which stands for “all medicines at one price per patient.” Under this initiative, liver cancer patients receive a single injection, costing between $8,000 and $9,392, or 20 to 32 million tugriks, depending on the dose. However, thanks to the PACE program, these drugs are supplied to the country at a significantly reduced cost of approximately $1,000.
N. Erdenehuu, the director of NMITSO, expressed satisfaction with the introduction of immunotherapy without imposing financial burdens on citizens. He highlighted the challenges of obtaining health insurance at market prices due to the high cost of treatment. To address this, Mongolia joined the PACE program, ensuring that one patient gains access to immunotherapy worth 8 million tugriks. Immunotherapy uniquely activates the human body’s immune system, using immune cells to destroy tumors without relying on traditional drugs.
The three-year project will commence with the treatment of the first forty patients covered by the National Medical Research Center. Once the successful results of these initial treatments are confirmed, the immunotherapy will become available to a broader population. Citizens will have the opportunity to receive immunotherapy through insurance, provided as part of the new “Immunotherapy Package” at the Health Fund. This groundbreaking initiative is poised to make a significant impact on cancer treatment accessibility in Mongolia.