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Pharma companies see patients as core strategy

By ZHOU WENTING in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-21 09:33
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MSD's booth is seen during an expo in Shanghai in November. [PHOTO/CHINA DAILY]

The "patients first" concept was foremost among several multinational pharmaceutical companies that participated in the sixth China International Import Expo recently, reflecting their commitment to the China market.

Announcing several projects to deepen their connection with Chinese patients, some said they would further engage patient communities in China to better understand their difficulties and needs, as well as provide support.

Takeda, for instance, said it had established the Takeda China Patient Day, reaffirming its corporate values of PTRB — putting patients first, building social trust, earning corporate reputation and thus achieving business growth — as a priority in decision-making.

At the inauguration ceremony of the Takeda China Patient Day, designated on June 8 each year, the company said it will further expand the depth and breadth of patient services, work with patient organizations and social welfare forces to focus on the unmet needs of patients and provide care for Chinese patients with practical actions.

A screenshot from Edwards Lifesciences' official website.[Photo/]

The booth of US-based medical devices company Edwards Lifesciences was themed "Patients First, Forward Together".

It showed the company's commitment to putting patients first at every step of the company's business — from lab research to the last-mile access issues for the patients, said Jittrakul Prinnapat, senior vice-president of public affairs for the JAPAC region at Edwards Lifesciences.

"We've always been making efforts to answer the needs of individual patients and engage patient communities. We involve patients as part of the company's decision-making process as they're ultimately the end users," she said.

During the just-concluded CIIE, the company unveiled its clinical data of the first 1,000 patients in China using its innovative SAPIEN 3 heart valves from 2020 to earlier this year.

The overall surgical success rate was a high 98.3 percent, which is consistent with international pivotal clinical trials and real-world studies, said Leo Tam, senior director of the business unit of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) at Edwards Lifesciences China.

"We'll make efforts to establish teaching centers with the support of domestic leading surgeons in TAVR to expand the availability of the new surgical treatment and benefit more patients. This will also contribute to healthy aging of society," he said.

The diagnosis rate of aortic stenosis is still low in China compared with its population size. The CIIE helped the company join hands with stakeholders in the local healthcare ecosystem to help Chinese patients get the right treatment, said Prinnapat.

Multinational pharma company Novartis said that it would join hands with a PNH patient organization. PNH, or paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, is a rare disease of the blood system.

Patient representatives from around the country will be invited as consultants to discuss and collect patient feedback and opinions regularly to provide reference for future product innovations, the company said.

MSD held an event to review "Lavender Ring", a charity program providing care for cancer patients, for this year. In the program, volunteers put on makeup for cancer patients and take beautiful portraits. Medical experts are also invited to educate patients about cancer treatment and prevention. Such activities are held to engage cancer patients in cities including Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou in Guangdong province, this year.

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