Global health: biopharmaceutical companies team up to stop cardiovascular disease
- The COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe disruption in cardiovascular disease (CVD) care and diagnostic procedures have dropped by 64% in the first year.
- Biopharmaceutical companies can play a greater role in addressing health issues such as cardiovascular disease by strategically partnering with health systems.
- New research highlights that leadership and trust are the keys to a successful strategic public-private partnership (sPPP).
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a syndemic – a confluence of several epidemics. Pressure on health care facilities, social restrictions and people’s increased reluctance to seek treatment have combined to cause serious disruption in diagnosis and care for a range of health conditions.
Take cardiovascular disease (CVD). More than 18 million people died from cardiovascular disease in 2019, making it the leading cause of death by disease. People can live without symptoms for years before suddenly suffering a heart attack, stroke, or other catastrophic health events. Early detection is therefore essential to initiate treatment that can prevent premature death. By any measure, the fight against cardiovascular disease is a global health priority.
And yet, from March 2019 to April 2020 – the first year of COVID-19 – a survey of 909 healthcare facilities in 108 countries showed that the number of cardiovascular diagnostic procedures performed fell by 64%. Experts fear that the long-term outlook for global heart health is potentially worse now than before the pandemic.
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- The Forum actively supports the global delivery of vaccines, launching Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and helping to save more than 13 million lives over 20 years, and helping COVAX deliver more than 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines around the world.
- Through its COVID Action Platform, the Forum and its partners have provided solutions to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, launching over 40 initiatives to protect lives and livelihoods.
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- The Forum’s Global Coalition for Value in Healthcare works to create a more sustainable and equal healthcare sector. Its first value-based healthcare innovation hubs in the Netherlands, Portugal, Wales and Denmark are working to eliminate inefficient spending in global health.
- The UHC2030 Private Sector Constituency, organized by the Forum, released a statement highlighting the role the private sector can play in achieving universal health coverage.
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Rethinking the role of biopharmaceutical companies
As a business, trends like this have caused us to examine our role within larger societies. Historically, the biopharmaceutical industry has created value by developing drugs and other products that extend and save lives, which will remain true for the foreseeable future. But the potential benefit of any drug depends on the ability of health systems to make it accessible. In our company’s treatment areas, we have found that only 10% of patients – including in high- and middle-income countries – have access to new medicines five years after their launch.
Subsequently, Novartis decided to explore strategic partnerships with healthcare systems around the world, tailoring our approach to the needs of each system. In England, which has a centralized healthcare system, we are engaged in a unique strategic public-private partnership (sPPP) with the National Health Service (NHS).
The NHS identifies cardiovascular disease as a public health priority. It causes one in four deaths in England, costing the healthcare system £9billion a year. From the outset, our goal has been to co-create an integrated approach to reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease at the population level. NHS leaders and Novartis have worked together over the past two years to develop effective ways to identify people who have survived a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke, and who still have high levels of LDL cholesterol, putting them at risk for a second cardiovascular disease. Event.
Our shared goal is to treat 300,000 people over three years who are likely to benefit from our new siRNA treatment, which has the potential to significantly reduce LDL cholesterol levels with two doses per year (after an initial dose and again after three months ).
Ingredients of successful public-private partnerships
The partnership sheds light on how sPPPs can help find solutions to population health problems. In a new study from the Harvard University Health Systems Innovation Lab, researchers analyzed six biopharmaceutical company sPPPs focused on cardiovascular health, including the partnership between England’s NHS and Novartis. sPPPs are relatively new to the healthcare industry, and the study provides insight into how they can be successful. The takeaways are that for these partnerships to have impact at the population level, they must be:
– guided by systems thinking
– designed for large-scale adoption of innovations in health systems
– based on trust between all stakeholders
– supported by high-level leadership
– well integrated into the health system.
Systems thinking enables partners to explore the short- and long-term impacts of large-scale innovations in health systems, how they might impact other areas of the health system, and how they might have consequences unforeseen. In this way, systems thinking helps illuminate the opportunities and risks that sPPPs need to manage.
Meanwhile, the success of an entire sPPP of biopharmaceutical companies depends on leadership and trust. High-level decision makers must commit to achieving the goals, while all partners must commit to transparency, openness and respect – the three ingredients for maintaining trust.
However, when it comes to implementation details, success depends on how PPPs fit into the broader health system. Otherwise, sPPPs are likely to remain isolated projects, which will never be sufficient to improve the health of the population on a large scale.
These findings underscore the importance for today’s biopharmaceutical companies to see themselves not just as producers of innovations, but as stakeholders who can partner directly with health systems to achieve better health outcomes. .
Biopharmaceutical companies, addressing health inequalities through strategic partnerships
Because the NHS has the data and patient relationships, it was possible to quickly understand who could potentially benefit from a new treatment for cardiovascular disease. Our partnership has enabled us to effectively demonstrate the value of the medicine and bring it to market at a lower cost to the NHS while making it accessible to a wider patient population, thus also helping to tackle health inequalities. . Trust remains key and Novartis experts meet daily with their NHS counterparts to review progress, resolve issues and steer activities towards common goals. In the longer term, we hope that our partnership will serve as a model.
The pandemic has highlighted the need for health systems to become more resilient and increase their ability to address multiple health challenges simultaneously, and cardiovascular disease is one of them. No company, government or healthcare system can meet a challenge of this magnitude alone. sPPPs show how biopharmaceutical companies can help health systems develop holistic system-level solutions, working through relationships based on transparency, openness and mutual respect.
As sPPPs become more successful, health systems will be better equipped to support individual patients and reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease and other diseases at the population level, helping to shape a more resilient future for the world. whole of society.