The pilot program aims to fund HER-2 positive breast cancer to provide equitable and timely access to innovative Standard-of-Care neoadjuvant therapy

Sabah, 12 December 2023 — Roche (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd has unveiled a distinctive initiative designed to ease the financial burden of treatment for breast cancer patients in Sabah. Spearheaded by a pilot co-funding program in partnership with MUIS Malaysia, the project aims to assist financially disadvantaged patients in the public sector.

The fund, named ZAKAT for HER, will be managed and governed by the Persatuan Kebajikan Islam Perubatan Sabah (PERKIPS), the state’s Islamic Medical Welfare Association.

YBhg. Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Yahya Haji Hussin, Yang di-Pertua MUIS, elucidated the current distribution of the healthcare cost burden in Malaysia: “In our nation, a substantial portion of the population, particularly those in the B40 and lower M40 income brackets, rely heavily on the public healthcare sector. The Ministry of Health currently shoulders 49.3%1 percent of public healthcare costs, but out-of-pocket expenses still comprise 31.5%1 per cent. There is an urgent need for strategic interventions and private sector partnerships to alleviate the burden on both the MOH and the citizens we serve.”

With breast cancer being the most prevalent type of cancer in Malaysian women, equitable, timely and sustainable access, especially novel ones, is crucial.

Sabah’s healthcare ecosystem has recently been in the spotlight for its. Over 66 percent2 of cancer patients in the state get diagnosed with late-stage cancer, underscoring the, particularly in the rural population. The delay is often driven by women seeking alternative or traditional therapies before getting a complete diagnosis.

In a dynamic public-private partnership, Roche and MUIS lead a groundbreaking initiative for timely access to innovative breast cancer treatment. The pilot program supports 14 eligible patients with HER-2 positive breast cancer through neoadjuvant therapy. This Innovative Funding Model unites contributors to share treatment costs for financially challenged B40 and lower M40 patients in the public sector. Designed for expansion, the model aims to provide equitable access to sustainable, innovative treatments, ensuring optimal patient outcomes.

“No woman should be denied her opportunity for remission or extended survival simply due to the prohibitive cost of treatment," stressed Deepti Saraf, General Manager of Roche (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. Although this program is in its initial phase, our vision is to amplify this initiative, guaranteeing accessibility to neoadjuvant therapies for women of all socio-demographic backgrounds.

Roche stands at the forefront, pioneering innovative solutions to mend the disparities in Malaysia's healthcare sector. Its relentless commitment is directed towards fortifying partnerships with stakeholders, persistently working to construct a healthcare system that is truly fair and accessible for all.

About Roche

Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, as well as growing capabilities in the area of data-driven medical insights help Roche deliver truly personalised healthcare. Roche is working with partners across the healthcare sector to provide the best care for each person.

Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. In recent years, Roche has invested in genomic profiling and real-world data partnerships and has become an industry-leading partner for medical Insights.

Founded in 1896, Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society. The company also aims to improve patient access to medical innovations by working with all relevant stakeholders. More than thirty medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and cancer medicines. Moreover, for the twelfth consecutive year, Roche has been recognised as one of the most sustainable companies in the Pharmaceuticals Industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI).The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 100 countries and in 2020 employed more than 100,000 people worldwide. In 2020, Roche invested CHF 12.2 billion in R&D and posted sales of CHF 58.3 billion. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche

Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit.

Roche has been present in Malaysia since 1972, when the sales and distribution of products was managed by a third party distributor. Since then, Roche has established its operations to include Roche (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., the pharmaceutical business; Roche Diagnostics (M) Sdn. Bhd., the diagnostics business and Roche Services (Asia Pacific) Sdn. Bhd. (also referred to as Roche Services & Solutions APAC). With a total staff strength of over 1,200, Roche has grown into one of the leading healthcare companies in Malaysia that provides holistic healthcare solutions to healthcare practitioners and patients. For more information, please visit

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Reference:


1. CodeBlue. (2023, February 24). Report: Malaysia’s Out-Of-Pocket Expense Rises With Higher Spending On Drugs, Inpatient Services. CodeBlue..

2. The Star. (2023, October 6). More awareness of early cancer detection needed in Sabah, says oncologist. The Star..

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