For more than a decade, BD, PEPFAR and the CDC worked to help strengthen laboratory systems and fight HIV and TB in sub-Saharan Africa and India through the Labs for Life partnership. The Labs for Life partnership is but one example of the incredible effort by the United States to mobilize various constituencies and resources through the PEPFAR initiative. This whole-of-government program marshalled people, research and investment to align around the singular purpose of bringing the HIV epidemic under control. During the State of the Union Address, President Biden called on advocates and champions to address another global health challenge facing us today – cancer. We were proud to have worked with President Bush’s administration to create the Labs for Life program and look forward to continuing our partnership with President Biden’s administration and the Cancer Moonshot program. We firmly believe a PEPFAR-like initiative to eradicate cancer could similarly align the efforts of the government, academia, companies and the healthcare systems who serve patients around a singular purpose.
The Administration is in a unique position to drive the types of public-private partnerships that can help revolutionize the battle against cancer around the world. Solutions to prevent, detect and treat cancer have become a reality, as illustrated through efforts to eliminate cervical cancer around the world. The WHO’s 90-70-90 goals for cervical cancer elimination mobilize efforts to use vaccines, screening tests, and affordable treatments to eliminate cancer. But too few people around the world currently enjoy access to these effective tools. BD is working to expand access to screening tests and services and we appreciate the White House’s recent spotlight on the “Private Sector Response to Improving Cancer Outcomes in Africa” during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which included a discussion on BD’s commitment to increase access to HPV screening in Kenya.
In the United States, access challenges still remain. On October 24, 2022, BD’s Vice President of Medical Affairs for Integrated Diagnostic Solutions, Jeff Andrews, participated in the launch of the American Cancer Society’s National Roundtable on Cervical Cancer which was hosted by Dr. Jill Biden. A gynecologist with over three decades of clinical experience, Dr. Andrews has highlighted the need to close gaps in cervical cancer screening which disproportionately affect Hispanic and Black women.
Through the Cancer Moonshot, the White House can leverage public-private partnerships to advance guidelines that aim to close those gaps in screening, and drive awareness for both patients and providers. This could include the integration of self-collection which has been shown to help countries in Europe raise HPV screening rates even as the rest of the world fell behind due to COVID-19. The recently published President’s Cancer Panel report sought to accelerate this effort by calling on developers to validate self-sampling, and on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve those claims.
BD stands ready to partner with the Administration to build on existing programs and research in order to close critical gaps in cancer care. To achieve the level of success seen from PEPFAR, we would welcome further guidance (including legislation) that identifies and sets out strategies to close these gaps.
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