Jagpreet Singh Sandhu, Chandigarh : A patient meeting was organised at Bhargava auditorium, PGIMER on Sunday for patients suffering from Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia , (most common blood cancer of adults) where approximately 1000 patients interacted freely with Professor John Goldman from Imperial college, London and Chairman, International Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia foundation(iCMLf) and Dr Micheal J Maura from Oregeon Health and Science University, USA .
Meeting was organised under the aegis of MAX foundation, which provides the drug-Glivec ( Imatinib) in collaboration with pharmaceutical company Novartis Oncology, free of cost to the unaffording patients who do not have any health insurance or do not get help from any government funding agencies. Imatinib is needed for almost lifelong to keep this cancer under control .The GIPAP ( Glivec Patient Access Programme) is a public-private partner ship programme which was initiated in 2003 by USA based MAX foundation in collaboration with Novartis Oncology.
At present approximately 14,500 patients are being provided this facility across India and more number of patients are getting enrolled regularly under GIPAP . PGIMER, Chandigarh is one of the centre where approximately 1500 patients are being supported under this Programme.
The common queries raised by the patients revolved around the side effects of the drug, responding to these, Professor Goldman and Dr Mauro opined that most of the side effects of the drugs are manageable with simple measures like drinking lots of water, excersing , taking good sleep , eating calcium rich diet to avoid body cramps and simple painkillers for pain in consultation with the treating doctor.
It was emphasised again and again in the meeting that patient should strictly adhere to the dosage prescribed and should not reduce or stop the drug on their own because it can result in loss of response to treatment and disease may resurface again.