Merck Foundation Sets Five Year, $15 Million US Cancer Therapies Access Initiative

As the stories of “survivability” — related to many life threatening cancers — are being rewritten, almost daily, in the patients’ favor — by these new immuno-oncology checkpoint inhibitors, it makes sense that Merck would use its charitable arm to improve access. Afterall, these are extremely expensive new therapies, and the bulk of people with cancer in the US are not independently wealthy, nor particularly well-insured. So whether you live in Compton or Kennebunkport, it ought to be true — in a “just” society — that we (the collective US health care system) will find a way to provide first rate care, and cutting edge therapies, to all equitably.

That is the aim of these awards — but in candor, much more will be needed, in order to achieve meaningful parity between Harvey, and Hyannis Port. From the press release then, a bit:

. . . .”Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, access to high-quality cancer care continues to be challenging for some patients in the United States, especially those in vulnerable and underserved communities,” said Dr. Julie Gerberding, executive vice president, strategic communications, global public policy and population health, Merck and chief executive officer, Merck Foundation. “We are optimistic that the learnings from the Alliance’s activities will bring forward new approaches in the delivery of cancer care that can be implemented throughout the health care system. . . .”

The Alliance will be supported by the Merck Foundation for up to $15 million over five years. Awardees will be announced in early 2017. . . .

This is a welcome step in the right direction — but it is only a step. Onward, then — on a perfect May Monday morning, then. . . smiling. . . .

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