Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Health Ministry is aiming to expand access to innovative biopharmaceutical products as part of efforts to provide affordable treatment, especially for cancer.

"One of our strategies to give better treatment to cancer patients is through increasing access to innovative pharmaceutical and biotechnology products,"director general of pharmaceutical and medical devices at the ministry, Rizka Andalucia, said.

Speaking at the signing ceremony of a collaboration between Kalbe and Henlius on producing cancer therapy drugs in Jakarta on Monday, she pointed to an increase in the number of non-communicable disease cases, including cancer.

In 2022, there were 3 million cancer cases in Indonesia whose treatment costs were covered by national health insurer BPJS Health and amounted to Rp4.5 trillion.

This makes cancer the second-largest catastrophic disease and the second most deadly disease after heart disease, she said.

However, the average time it takes for a foreign innovative product to arrive in Indonesia after its global launch is 14 months, Andalucia noted.

Given this long period and the high price of innovative treatments, patients tend to seek out treatment abroad.

Therefore, the ministry is updating regulations to accelerate the development of the research ecosystem by supporting technology transfer, vaccines, and biotechnology products; providing incentives and non-incentives to pharmaceutical companies; and licensing medical devices by replacing them with local products, she disclosed.

"By producing biotechnology, Indonesia can compete with other countries and can provide more affordable treatment for national health services and the patients, especially," Andalucia explained.

In addition, the Health Ministry is building a sustainable ecosystem to develop the pharmaceutical industry, biological product vaccines, and medical devices with affirmative action on the side of research and development, production, and supply chains, she added.

To support this, the ministry is also enabling collaborations between local industry players and global companies to build adequate capacity for biopharmaceutical products, she said.

By developing regional pharmaceutical resilience and the medical equipment industry, Indonesia can reach all therapies and diagnostics quickly and speed up emergency treatment at affordable prices, Andalucia said.

In line with this, the ministry's director of pharmaceutical resilience and medical devices, Roy Himawan, said his party welcomes every strategic partnership initiative between the domestic and global industries to increase technological capacity and reach export markets as part of the health transformation.

"It is time for us to move forward. We should not rely on the domestic market, but also reach foreign markets to export. This is part of our agenda in health transformation to be more resilient," he added.

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Translator: Fitra Ashari, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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