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Jakarta Post

As budget woes persist, BPJS delists cancer drugs

  • Gemma Holliani Cahya

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Tue, February 26, 2019   /  10:58 am
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BPJS Kesehatan spent Rp 8.7 trillion in 2014, while the number hit Rp 18 trillion in 2018. It spent almost Rp 3 trillion for cancer treatments, the second largest amount after cardiovascular at Rp 9.4 trillion. (Shutterstock/Aleksandar Karanov)

In another effort to curb the worsening deficit in the state health insurance, the government has attempted to remove more cancer medicines from its coverage, which may put the lives of patients on the line. The Health Ministry has issued a new ministerial decree on the national formulary that excludes bevacizumab, a medication used mostly for targeted chemotherapy to treat metastatic colorectal cancer, from the list of medicines covered under the National Health Insurance (JKN) scheme. The new regulation that will be effective on March 1 also stops the use of cetuximab, also used for colorectal cancer. The new formulary stipulates that it can only be used to treat Squamous cell carcinoma, also known as head and neck cancer. Husain Nurisman, 45, who survived metastatic colorectal cancer last year thanks to the combination of both medicines, said he was now more afraid if his can...