Masters Speciality Pharma (Masters) strives to improve the lives of those suffering from rare diseases in remote parts of the world by partnering with healthcare providers to offer innovative and essential life-saving medicines. As part of this mission, and in conjunction with its work in the Middle East, Masters identified those suffering from Wilson’s Disease in Iraq as an audience in evident need of help. Through supplying chelating agent, Trientine 300, to sufferers across the country, Masters has increased the number of registered patients more than tenfold, transforming the lives of those battling this potentially fatal disease.
Wilson’s Disease is a rare genetic disorder in which a failure of the liver to metabolise and remove unnecessary amounts of copper in the body results in the body becoming overloaded with copper. While copper plays a key role in the development of healthy nerves, bones, collagen and skin pigment, in excess, it can lead to liver failure, brain damage and other life-threatening conditions.
Early diagnosis is crucial and if left untreated, the disease can be fatal. The disease is found in all races and ethnic groups. Although estimates vary, it is believed that Wilson’s disease occurs in approximately one in 30,000 to 40,000 people worldwide. Approximately one in 90 people may be carriers of the disease gene.
To date, an estimated 300 people suffer from the disease in Iraq with a distinct lack of effective and affordable medication available to them. Without treatment many face the bleak prognosis of liver transplant. Not only are many diagnosed patients left without treatment, but being an orphan disease, many physicians in Iraq are not experienced with the disease resulting in many sufferers going undiagnosed.
This leads to both diagnosed and undiagnosed patients suffering from a condition that damages crucial organs and can lead to death. Trientine 300 is a chelating agent that bonds with excess copper to form a stable e-complex which is excreted from the body through the urine. It offers a practical and affordable way to manage the condition, greatly improving the way of life for Wilson’s sufferers.
Through researching and surveying patients with conditions not covered by the Iraqi health system, in 2015 Masters recognised Wilson’s as a rare disease in need of treatment. Having identified Trientine 300 as a suitable treatment, the company worked with key opinion leaders and local health authorities to develop a strategy and build the economic case for procuring and dispensing Trientine to the Iraqi market. Using its network of personnel on the ground, Masters held seminars with doctors and healthcare professionals in publicly-owned hospitals and medical schools to create awareness, while sponsoring and participating in exhibitions and conferences such as the International College of Medicine Conference in Baghdad University in 2017 and The Annual International Medical City Conference held in the Baghdad medical city in 2018. New dispensing centres were opened for Trientine, and Masters donated $240,000 worth of the medicine, as well as necessary supplements of zinc to meet the shortage of [Ministry of Health] stock. The company donated endoscopy devices to a hospital that had suffered from destruction due to ISIS attacks in Iraq’s western provinces and participated in patient support programmes to assist patients in receiving their treatment
Since Masters embarked on this journey in 2015 the number of patients receiving Trientine 300 has increased from 17 to more than 200 and dispensing centres for Trientine are up from one to four, allowing considerably greater access to required medication for Wilson’s sufferers. Following this success, Masters continues to research and invest in helping the Iraqi health authorities to treat patients. In addition, the company is currently investigating the feasibility of rolling out a similar programme for the treatment of diseases such as Haemophilia, Hepatic Porphyria and Neuroendocrine Tumours.