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MALTATODAY 26 September 2021

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 26 SEPTEMBER 2021 8 NEWS C A R E E R O P P O R T U N I T Y The Office of the Arbiter for Financial Services is seeking to recruit a Customer Rela ons Officer to join its team. The candidate will be answering queries of a financial services nature and will also be dealing with minor cases aiming for their early resolu on. Background and/or experience in financial services would be helpful. Further informa on about this vacancy is available at Applicants are kindly requested to submit a covering le er and a CV by registered post or by hand to: Office of the Arbiter for Financial Services Chairman - Selec on Board First Floor, St Calcedonius Square Floriana FRN1530 Closing date for applica ons is 12 October 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be required to a end for an interview by the Selec on Board and possibly to a second interview, as necessary. Community Chest reduced to 'finance' house for chemotherapy PAUL COCKS GOVERNMENT should step up and start making available more treatments for cancer patients, to allow the Malta Community Chest Fund serve its core mission, not act as a fi- nancing house for oncology pa- tients, Nationalist MP Stephen Spiteri has said. The PN spokesman for health told MaltaToday it is high time that the government expand the national formulary to include new – and approved – cancer treatments and services. "This would put a stop to pa- tients having to beg the MCCF for funds to be able to pursue these treatments abroad or for medication that is not availa- ble in Malta," he said. "Moreo- ver, government would be able to purchase these services and medications for much less than the MCCF is currently paying." The government formulary list includes medicinal products, vi- tamins, food supplements and borderline substances available for free to Maltese citizens. But Spiteri insists that many cancer treatments on the for- mulary list – including chemo- therapy treatments – have been superseded by newer and better treatments, approved by the European Medicines Agency and available in many European countries. These same treatments are al- so approved by Maltese oncolo- gy specialists who often end up recommending them to their patients, who then turn to the MCCF for help. "These treatments have less side-effects, and have higher success and survival rates than those currently offered in Mal- ta," Spiteri said. "The PN be- lieves the government, irrespec- tive of which party is in power, should offer the best biological treatments approved by the EMA." The formulary, for example, does offer treatment for renal cell carcinoma – kidney cancer – but more innovative treat- ments offered in Europe pro- vide a higher success rate and less chance of relapse. This is why the PN is recommending the formulary list be reviewed and expanded. Spiteri said that when a pa- tient, or their family, turns to the MCCF for financial aid, the MCCF often ends up paying anything between €5,000 and €20,000 for one cycle of treat- ment for a single patient. "What is worse is that the MC- CF is procuring the treatment itself, approaching medical sup- pliers abroad and purchasing single doses of a treatment each time a patient needs assistance. Last week, President George Vella who heads the MCCF, said that costs had risen to around €1.4 million a month – or €17 million annually – mainly due to chemotherapy for Maltese cancer patients," Spiteri said. He expressed hope that the MCCF would be able to find the funds necessary to continue to assist all those who needed help. "Cancer patients and their patients should not have to go begging for assistance from the MCCF when EMA-ap- proved treatments are available abroad," Spiteri said. "Besides providing a crucial service to patients, expanding the formu- lary list would allow the MC- CF to focusing once again on poverty and other social issues, instead of serving as a financial house for oncology patients." Spiteri said that if the gov- ernment stepped up to pro-

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