Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited on Friday announced the launch of a bold, new Access to Medicines (AtM) strategy, aimed at increasing access to its innovative and potentially life-saving medicines for patients with some of the highest unmet medical needs. For decades, the company has provided product, funding and access in many parts of the world, based on regional needs. The new AtM strategy builds on that by focusing on geographies and therapy areas with the highest unmet need.
This comprehensive approach is focused on countries with less developed and evolving healthcare systems in areas such as Latin America, South East Asia and Africa, where sustainable approaches to tackle barriers that limit access to medicines are needed to make a meaningful impact on patient lives. Of the 38 million people who die from non-communicable diseases each year, three quarters – or 28 million – of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
“Access to innovative medicines and quality healthcare is vital to the health of people across the world,” said Christophe Weber, president and CEO, Takeda. “In line with Takeda’s values, our Access to Medicines strategy will expand on our existing commitments to enhance global health, so that our innovative and potentially life-saving medicines can be more accessible and affordable to patients in regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa.”
The announcement coincides with the Sixth Tokyo International Conference of Africa’s Development (TICAD-VI), and the Company’s formal opening of offices in Nairobi, Kenya, from where Takeda aims to forge sustainable AtM partnerships across Sub-Saharan Africa adopting a ‘not-for-profit’ approach.
Takeda’s new AtM strategy will focus on increasing access to some of its most innovative medicines in the areas of oncology and specialty gastroenterology, as well as its vaccine candidates for communicable diseases such as dengue and chikungunya. As part of the Company’s not-for-profit approach in Sub-Saharan Africa, Takeda is also working to improve patient access to some of its diabetes and hypertension medicines.
The initiative aims to address multiple access barriers common across regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa – including development of AtM-targeted life-cycle management for its existing medicines, accelerated registration of its innovative medicines, increased participation of local centres in clinical trials, establishment of early access programs where applicable, and introduction of innovative approaches to address affordability for those patients whose ability to pay the full cost of treatment is limited.
“Takeda is committed to help advance patient health via collaborative, affordability-based approaches that bring together key stakeholders to ensure our latest, innovative medicines reach the patients that need them. We have rolled-out comprehensive patient assistance programs in a number of Emerging Markets. Our aspiration is that eligible patients who are prescribed Takeda’s potentially life-saving medicines will be able to get access to them” commented Takeda’s Giles Platford, president, Emerging Markets Business Unit.
In countries such as Kenya, Takeda’s approach goes beyond medicines. The company is working with several partners to enhance local cancer management capacity, increase access to treatment, and address access barriers for other chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
“We aim to establish Nairobi, Kenya as a regional center of excellence for Sub-Saharan Africa in the area of oncology/haematology,” commented Isabel Torres, Takeda’s Global Head, Access to Medicines. “To further that goal, and make a sustainable contribution, Takeda will work alongside governments, NGOs, healthcare professionals, patient associations and local community in multiple Public-Private Partnerships. The opening of our Nairobi office is a significant step forward in helping forge those collaborations and in enabling patients in the region gain better access to medicines.”
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities are an important cornerstone of Takeda’s AtM strategy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Two key programs include the Takeda Initiative, a 10-year program started in 2010 to partner with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by strengthening the capacity of healthcare workers in Africa; and HERhealth, which works to address the pressing social need for womens’ health awareness and services. Takeda has supported the initiative since 2015 in partnership with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and aims to expand the program reach to women in Ethiopia and Kenya.