In our world live 7.8 billion people. Pharma only focuses on cancer treatments for 1.6 billion people. How can the other 6.2 billion people hold no interest for pharma? Even from a commercial perspective, it is unwise to neglect these people. And don’t say that there is no profit possible in low- and middle-income countries. Pharma can turn a profit from paracetamol. Fifty tablets for 70 cents! Many of the off-patent medicines can probably be used for treatments in low- and middle-income countries; we already know of some. These medicines are good, safe, cheap, and can benefit cancer patients in these countries. Why not help these people?
Inspire2Live is a global organisation that started in the rich Netherlands. From the start, we worked internationally, but mainly in Europe and North America. We worked for 1.6 billion people but did not see the other 6.2 billion people.
As of February 2020, we started to think differently. We expanded our view to include all continents, and now we have a footprint in over 35 countries. They are now part of our family, our World Campus. Inspire2Live is now successful in all parts of the world. The Inspire2Live network is strong; many initiatives are taken or inspired by us. But in general, we do far too little, and we’re still not good enough. If we execute what we already know, we can even improve the percentage of success. Probably, we could reach over 70%. As a global community, learning from each other is needed for taking the best approach for each patient, irrespective of where that person lives.
Inspire2Live works with patient advocates and scholar-activists. The latter are scientists who want their work to be implemented and cooperate with patients and clinicians to do so. In our World Campus sessions held every last Wednesday of the month, we share our views, needs, and cries for help. When working with all these countries, one thing becomes clear; many would be very glad to have the problems we deal with in Europe and North America. High prices for Pembrolizumab, for example, is no problem for them; it is simply unavailable.
In these World Campus sessions, Inspire2Live learnt that we have to work for all 7.8 billion people. We have to develop a vision and implement what is and can be available for all. To that end, Inspire2Live designed and implemented BUCS: Bottom-Up Cancer Support. Four P’s are crucial:
- We need a big focus on Prevention. Cancer is an increasing disease. We need to prevent the Titanic from hitting the iceberg, as Bob Weinberg (The Whitehead Institute, Boston) stated in 2011 at our Annual Congress. At least 50% of all cancers are preventable. And prevention is cheap.
- When you have cancer, at least take care of good Performance: physicians and patients should act wise and skilful. Cancer (pre)rehabilitation is of great importance. It brings or keeps you in a good and healthy state. You can do the things you find important during your sickness. This, too, doesn’t need much money.
- When suffering from Pain, have good pain management. Inspire2Live invests in a trial with Lidocaine as a good, safe, and cheap treatment to deal with inflammatory pain. It already appears that Lidocaine soothes pain by treating the inflammation. Another important feature is that it keeps your mind clear whereas opiates don’t. It offers good quality of life during your sickness.
- And of course, when there is Potential in something unexpected, use it.
We know that these aspects of BUCS can be achieved for all citizens of the world, and they are affordable for everyone. Within our World Campus, we have already taken some initiatives that contribute to the well-being of patients. We will continue and start many more.
Our organisation works based on reciprocity. This means that someone shares their problems and needs, and someone else brings in their knowledge and experience to assist and doesn’t want anything in return at that moment. We all know that, by sharing in the end, we will receive more than we have ever given. This is how we, together, work for 7.8 billion people.
Peter Kapitein, patient advocate Inspire2Live