In 1995, Bosnia and Herzegovina was ravaged by three years of war leaving the country drained and fragmented. Anybody suffering from cancer in this time was left entirely to themselves. The infrastructure was largely destroyed, and there was no proper access to diagnosis, treatment or medicines.

Back then, as today, generic companies dominated the market, with Roche being one of the first innovative companies to enter the business in 1998 with only few employees.

Doing business in a different and innovative way to find unique, patient-centric approaches  helped us to create long term partnerships with healthcare professionals and institutions. Together we worked on the main goal to enable an equal access of treatment to oncology patients throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. To ensure a sustainable healthcare system for the long-term we also aimed to educate medical staff and implement evidence based medicine in clinical practice.

Despite all challenges and the fact that national healthcare budget is still at a very low level and much of the population remains uncovered by health insurance, we succeeded to enable access for most of our cancer medicines to patients in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

What we are doing

A team of Roche employees has taken a decisive role in improving both cancer awareness and diagnosis in Bosnia and Herzegovina:

  • Roche was the first company to start conducting clinical trials in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2005. The participation in trials in the clinics with the highest standards enables patients to access breakthrough therapies.
  • We are committed in creating long-term partnerships with patient organizations, run tailored initiatives to improve awareness of diseases through public campaigns, educational programs in project management, lobbying, advocacy and patients’ rights.
  • We are the only pharmaceutical company which continuously invests in diagnostic equipment, provides tests for medical diagnostics and supports pathology development in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • We are partnering  with HCPs and institutions to support screening and early diagnosis and work with the government to alleviate budget pressure to improve the provision of quality healthcare.
  • We established communications platforms to connect experts from different field with the goal to facilitate and improve collaboration.
  • Through our own infrastructure, we directly supply medical institutions on all territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina with our products ensuring good distribution practice and quality.

Our impact

Roche enabled full reimbursement of Herceptin, Herceptin SC, Perjeta, Tarceva, Mabthera, Xeloda including Neorecormon and Pegasys in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We worked on raising the medical knowledge, implemented adequate procedures, and built an infrastructure to enable clinical trials in the country. To date, 40 trials have taken place, involving over 1000 patients on 9 sites in Sarajevo and Banja Luka.

Due to the national multi-stakeholder awareness and diagnosis campaigns, late-stage diagnosis of breast cancer, has declined to less than 30% from around 70% ten years ago. The local team of high-level physicians and pharmacists are now recognised as clinical trial experts and trustworthy advisors for local stakeholders.

We established biomarker testing in different types of cancer as part of the standard diagnostic protocol through continuous donations of HER2, EGFR and BRAF tests for breast cancer, lung cancer and melanoma patients to all clinical centers in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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Last updated 20 April 2018

Tags: Patients, Access to healthcare