Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) has signed an agreement with AbbVie Biopharmaceuticals, a leading international biopharmaceutical company to launch the ‘Salamtak’ initiative that aims to help low-income residents with autoimmune diseases.
QRCS’ Volunteering and Local Development Division director Nora Rashid al-Dosari and AbbVie GCC general manager Sami Abi Nakhoul signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) at a press conference.
The event was attended by Dr Samar al-Emadi, head of the Rheumatology Section, Hamad General Hospital, and Mohamed Kamaledin, representative of Ahmed Khalil Albaker & Sons, the local agent for AbbVie.
“The aim of this initiative is to help those inflicted with autoimmune diseases, which have a serious impact on one’s health, work, family and life in general. To give them hope, we join hands and promise to do our best to make this initiative a success,” said al-Dosari.
Hailing the partnership with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) to improve public health in Qatar, she said they worked with AbbVie on Hepatitis C last year, recording an outstanding success rate of 100%.
Once diagnosed by HMC physicians, the patients can apply for medical coverage under QRCS’ Patient Support Fund.
Eligible beneficiaries would qualify for free-of-charge treatment with Humira, an effective drug manufactured by AbbVie.
Nakhoul said his company is keen on having stronger relations with QRCS and HMC.
“Our joint efforts are crucial to the campaign. With our extensive experience and innovative solutions, we share the same goal of advancing health care standards in the country, which will reflect positively on the lives of the patients,” he noted.
Nakhoul added that autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, colitis, psoriasis, and hidradenitis suppurativa, among others.
He told doctors that as healthcare providers, they are the cornerstone of ‘Salamtak’.
“You are the ones who will deal face to face with the most unfortunate patients. Through this initiative, I am sure we can make a significant difference in the lives of the patients and their families,” Nakhoul said.
Asked about how many patients would benefit from this initiative, Dr al-Emadi said: “Most patients who visit the Section are non-Qataris. Some of them have medical insurance; others, like labourers, cannot afford the cost of treatment.”
“There are no accurate estimates. Generally speaking, we have 600 to 700 rheumatoid arthritis cases, 50 psoriatic arthritis cases, and 100 ankylosing spondylitis cases,” he noted. “Though the therapy is too expensive, patients incur only 20% of the cost, which is less than one tenth of the international prices”.
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