A project to provide free ovarian function tests for 3,000 patients suffering from Lupus nephritis, a complication triggered by the prototype autoimmune disease Systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE, was launched in Shanghai during the weekend.
Some 3,000 women patients of child-bearing age (between 18 and 40) at 50 hospitals all over the country will have access to the free tests provided by Roche Pharmaceuticals China and Beijing Bethune Charitable Foundation in the coming 12 months.
Liu Zhihong, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a leading expert in kidney diseases, explained that the ratio of men and women patients of SLE, of which the incidence rate is between 40 and 100 among 100,000 people in the country, is 1 to 12. She added that most women patients fall in the child-bearing age bracket.
"Traditional therapies for this condition usually last a minimum of three years and come with side effects on the patients' ovaries and reproductive function," she said.
After receiving traditional therapies for a year and a half, the incidence rates of menopause among women patients between 25 and 30 as well as those aged 31 and above were 27 percent and 62 percent respectively, experts said.
Li Shenqing, chairman of the Bethune foundation, said that the project is aimed at helping patients better understand their reproductive health conditions, maintain their feminine beauty and strengthen their confidence about life and the future.
At the end of October, Roche received approval to market a new medicine for the disease which the company claimed would have little effect on one's ovarian function.