provides general information regarding cytisine

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The Thai National Health Security Office (NHSO) is contemplating an expansion of its benefits under the 30-baht healthcare universal package, known as the “gold card” scheme. The addition could include cancer treatment and free screenings for non-cardholders. Jadet Thammathat-Aree, secretary-general of the NHSO, made the announcement recently for the proposed expansion to include cancer treatment and screening.

In the pursuit of providing affordable medical aid to patients, the NHSO is also investigating potential drugs to incorporate into the national list of essential medicines. Jadet Thammathat-Aree detailed that the NHSO is negotiating with pharmaceutical firms to provide targeted therapy, which is a crucial need for numerous cancer patients, particularly those battling breast cancer.

“The focus of our new benefits [in the gold card scheme] will be on cancers, but we first need to discuss the related policies. We are striving to encourage health check-ups before individuals fall ill, as early detection of disease significantly increases the chances of recovery.”

Jadet Thammathat-Aree confirmed that coverage for another popular medication is now under consideration. Many have pushed for cytisine — a medication for quitting smoking — to be included in the national list of essential medicines.

The NHSO secretary-general also stressed the importance of health screenings for prevention, including newborn and cancer tests for 24 rare diseases. However, he admitted that preventive testing hasn’t reached their goals, with only 1.6 million women yearly getting cervical cancer screenings. Jadet Thammathat-Aree predicted allowing at-home health tests could boost this number to five million women.

Furthermore, the NHSO is collaborating with the Social Security Office to engage non-member groups like factory workers, who often avoid early cancer testing. Jadet Thammathat-Aree added the office receives a yearly surplus of funds, potentially used to support health promotion and disease prevention for vulnerable groups, not under the gold card scheme.

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