News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Amgen, Novartis and Roche Diagnostics join coalition to combat escalating heart disease crisis in Asia-Pacific region

Health Industry Hub | July 10, 2023 |

Pharma News: In an effort to address the soaring rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the Asia-Pacific region, patient organisations, allied health professionals, academia, corporate partners, and a global health think-tank have joined forces to launch the Asia-Pacific Cardiovascular Disease Alliance (APAC CVD Alliance). This unique multisectoral coalition aims to enhance heart health and reduce the burden of CVD across nine health systems in Asia, including Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The APAC CVD Alliance, with its regional hub based in Singapore, has appointed global health think-tank ACCESS Health International as its secretariat for Southeast Asia. CVD has become the leading cause of death in the Asia-Pacific region, with East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia experiencing the largest increase in premature deaths related to heart disease over the past two decades. Shockingly, in 2019 alone, over 10 million people in Asia lost their lives to CVD, accounting for 35% of all deaths in the region.

To tackle this escalating crisis, the APAC CVD Alliance has secured strategic partners with the Asia-Pacific Federation for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine (APFCB), Global Alliance for Patient Access (GAfPA), Global Heart Hub (GHH), and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Faculty of Medicine in Malaysia. Additionally, pharma and diagnostics partners Amgen, Novartis, and Roche Diagnostics have joined forces to support the alliance’s mission.

The primary objectives of the APAC CVD Alliance include raising public and policy awareness about the urgency of addressing CVD at both regional and domestic forums in Asia, advocating for the implementation of scalable and sustainable CVD innovations across all health systems, and emphasising the critical need to view the fight against CVD as an essential investment for healthy societies and productive economies.

The increasing affluence, rapid urbanisation, and aging populations in Asia have placed a significant burden on health systems in terms of both direct and indirect costs associated with CVD, as well as poor health outcomes.

Dr Tony Badrick, President, APFCB, said “As the largest clinical biochemistry and laboratory federation in Asia, we have seen that investing in capacity building and education of laboratory professionals are essential for early detection and treatment of CVD and other non-communicable diseases. The APAC CVD Alliance’s mandate to elevate policy awareness dovetails with the APFCB’s goal of encouraging continual improvements to laboratory practices in the region.”

Amgen expressed its commitment to unifying efforts across multiple sectors to overcome barriers preventing patients from accessing quality cardiac management in healthcare systems.

“Success for us means creating sustainable solutions that provide more effective, longer term care for patients in the region,” said My Linh Kha, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Amgen Japan and Asia Pacific.

Taking a patient-centred approach, the APAC CVD Alliance will focus on the entire CVD care continuum, including prevention, early detection, treatment, cardiac rehabilitation, and step-down care. By partnering with diverse stakeholders, such as patient advocacy groups and healthcare providers, the alliance intends to ensure that patients’ voices are heard and that policies are developed with patient-centricity in mind.

“According to the World Heart Federation, 80% of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is preventable. This is a shocking reality and calls for urgent action,” said Iris Zemzoum, President, Novartis Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

“This alliance is a powerful example of forging sustainable partnerships across the healthcare ecosystem and working together to find innovative ways to unblock the barriers that stand in the way of heart health,” she added.

Roche Diagnostics Asia Pacific also underscored the importance of focusing on chronic disease management and adopting a holistic approach beyond physical symptoms. Lance Little, Head of Region, Asia Pacific, highlighted the Alliance’s role in raising awareness about heart health and promoting better healthcare access, thereby lowering costs for society and driving greater innovation in cardiovascular disease.

“The Alliance creates a collective opportunity to bring multiple voices that are critical to driving better healthcare for patients, lowering cost to society and creating a national push for greater access to cardiovascular disease innovations,” Mr Lance noted.

ACCESS Health International (Asia) President, Dr Krishna Reddy, expressed pride in serving as the secretariat for this regional initiative and stressed the importance of investing in CVD innovations across all health systems through policies, care models, products, and services.

The APAC CVD Alliance stands as a beacon of hope, fostering partnerships and mobilising resources to bring about meaningful change in the heart health of millions across the Asia-Pacific region.

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