Bayer’s life-giving PPP initiatives

May 13, 2019 | 08:50
German group Bayer has been actively involved in public-private partnership projects in Vietnam to seek new and better solutions to the country’s healthcare challenges over 25 years of operations in Vietnam.
bayers life giving ppp initiatives
Bayer has stepped up co-operation with the Vietnamese government to cover unmet healthcare demand

According to the latest report by consulting firm Solidiance, the Vietnamese healthcare industry is facing several challenges, such as overcrowded hospitals, obsolete medical equipment, limited state budget, and a shortage of qualified medical staff.

Furthermore, Vietnam is currently struggling with increasing healthcare expenditure. Throughout 2013-2017 the growth of per capita healthcare expenditure in Vietnam reached 26.78 per cent, going from $112 in 2013 to $142 in 2017, outpacing GDP per capita growth. Vietnam’s public healthcare expenditure was also the highest among the ASEAN countries, with 3.8 per cent of the GDP in 2014.

The growing healthcare challenges have placed substantial pressure on the government to look for private capital and expertise. In this context, Bayer is one of the most active companies embracing public-private partnership solutions to solve Vietnam’s healthcare backlog.

Bayer has collaborated with various entities to enhance knowledge and awareness of key health issues and non-communicable diseases in the country. For example, the company has collaborated with the Ho Chi Minh City Stroke Associations to engage over 700 healthcare professionals to enhance their scientific knowledge on the use of non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) in stroke prevention and thrombosis management for atrial fibrillation patients. A key highlight was the important value of stroke prevention, which NOACs bring to patients with non-valvular AF.

Specifically, Bayer has been implementing several initiatives to meet the needs of communities and improve the health of Vietnamese women. Vietnam currently has 24.7 million women at reproductive age, which is a high number. This number will continue to increase and reach its peak in the 2027-2028 period, signifying a growing need in women’s health education.

Bayer has joined forced with the General Office of Population and Family Planning and the Vietnam Women’s Union to run a public health education programme for the past three years. Through the joint collaboration of Bayer and the government agencies, the programme has reached out to millions of Vietnamese women and provided them with better access to contraceptive information. As part of the partnership, a series of educational events have been organised to provide almost 4,500 students aged 18-25 with advanced knowledge and awareness about contraception. The participants were excited to exchange information, seeking experts’ advice on topics related to reproductive healthcare and safe contraceptive methods, among others.

Innovative medicine to alleviate healthcare burden

As Vietnam is entering the era of fast-aging population, serious diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and eye diseases related to ageing will be areas of high unmet medical need in Vietnam. Bayer is working hard to address the healthcare burden in Vietnam by bringing new and better treatments to patients.

According to the GLOBOCAN, Vietnam had 164,671 fresh cases of cancer in 2018. The company has taken an active role in providing support and innovative treatments for Vietnamese cancer patients. Bayer unveiled one more oral targeted therapy in Vietnam for the treatment of advanced liver cancer patients last October. This therapy has been approved as the second line treatment for patients who have progressed on first-line systemic therapy. The sequential treatment with first-line followed by second-line therapies has shown a median overall survival of 26 months in patients with unresectable liver cancer. This represents a significant improvement from previous treatment outcomes for liver cancer, which have overall low survival rates.

In addition, Bayer has introduced its new generation of treatment therapy in retina diseases like Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Macular Edema. With the new generation of anti-VEGF therapy, Bayer will contribute to improving the quality of life for ­patients in Vietnam by enabling vision protection, vision improvement, and vision loss prevention for the increasing number of patients suffering from these retina diseases.

Capitalising on its strong research activity, Bayer also unveiled a new oral progestin treatment which has proven to be highly effective at relieving the pain caused by endometriosis. This is a relief for Vietnamese women living with endometriosis, a chronic and painful disease which affects one in 10 women during their reproductive years. In clinical studies this new therapy has shown continuous pain relief over 15 months of treatment.

Building on partnerships

Bayer’s innovative medicines have brought hope to many Vietnamese patients with difficult-to-treat diseases. It is clear that partnership is a key driver of innovation at Bayer. The company seeks to work closer with the government to find new and better solutions to the country’s healthcare challenges.

The company shares mutual goals with the Vietnamese government to provide patients with sustainable access to high-quality medicines. To achieve this, a pro-innovation regulatory and reimbursement environment in Vietnam is important for the industry to continue bringing innovative treatments to Vietnamese patients. This includes less complex and more predictable policy frameworks for global healthcare companies to operate in Vietnam as well as faster regulatory and reimbursement approval processes which are also key factors that will help make innovative treatments more accessible for people in Vietnam. Moving forward, Bayer is committed to strengthening its partnerships with the government in the healthcare sector. The company also continues to expand collaboration with other entities in Vietnam. These range from strategic research alliances with the medical and scientific communities to open innovation platforms involving entrepreneurs, startups, and the wider public.

“We are delighted to see that with our innovative medicines, Bayer is delivering significant ­benefits to patients battling serious diseases such as cardiovascular ­diseases, cancer, and eye diseases related to aging and diabetes, ­enabling a better and meaningful life for Vietnamese patients,” said Lynette Moey, country head of the Pharmaceuticals Division of Bayer in Vietnam.

“It is also our long-term commitment to continually bring new and better treatments to patients and build more collaboration with external partners in Vietnam.”

Bayer Pharmaceuticals: About €3 billion investment in global R&D with significant focus on addressing high medical needs in Asia Pacific

In 2018, Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division in the Asia-Pacific region grew its sales by 7.3 per cent to over €5.2 billion ($5.8 billion). This strong performance speaks to the strong demand for its innovative medicines which deliver significant benefits to patients battling serious diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and eye diseases related to aging and diabetes. Last year, Bayer invested about €3 billion in research and development of new pharmaceuticals globally. Bayer’s pharmaceuticals pipeline is well-stocked, with about 50 development projects in Phase I to III of clinical development. Among these projects, many might have the potential to treat various types of cancer, diabetic kidney disease, and chronic heart failure which represent areas of high medical needs for the region’s aging population.

Partnership is a key driver of Bayer’s innovation strategy. Bayer continues to expand its collaboration activities in the region. These range from strategic research alliances with the medical and scientific communities to open innovation platforms involving entrepreneurs, startups and the wider public.

By Thanh Van

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