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Coronavirus: Adjusting Our Business Approach While Serving Our Patients

March 19, 2020
As community transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in seen in increasing number of countries, global companies, like Takeda, are shifting gears to help mitigate the spread. We spoke with Ramona Sequeira, President of Takeda's US Business Unit, to learn how the company is changing its business approach while ensuring patients get the support they need.
Ramona Sequeira, President, US Business Unit

What is driving the response to COVID-19 at Takeda?

Our response to the coronavirus outbreak is guided by our values of Takeda-ism and Patient-Trust-Reputation- Business. In short, we are doing everything we can to protect our employees and their families, while also working to best support our patients, communities, and importantly, the health care providers upon which so many rely.

Have you adjusted your business approach as a result of the outbreak?

We know health care facilities present a greater risk for exposure to COVID-19 and it’s possible for a Takeda medical representative to unknowingly bring the virus into this environment. Also, some health care practitioners don’t have time for meetings with our representatives; they are simply too overburdened in moments like this. So, beyond our desire to protect our employees, we have a responsibility to mitigate the spread of the virus and reduce the burden of the outbreak on the general health care system.

To this end, we have applied our existing telework guidance more broadly to our global colleagues and including as many of our customer facing employees as possible – especially those who interact with health care professionals. Of course, we recognize in some countries face-to-face engagement is necessary to ensure patients are properly initiated on our medicines and in these cases we have empowered the local commercial teams to do what is right to serve our customers and patients.

What is typical guidance for a face-to-face engagement if customer facing teams need to interact with health care professionals?

In general any in-person meeting should adhere to infection control guidance, including maintaining a distance of 2 meters/6 feet between meeting participants, avoiding handshakes and following good hand hygiene practices to reduce the risk of possible transmission.

Our general managers in market also provide specific guidance in cases where the local law or local health care authorities specify face-to-face interaction is needed to ensure continuity of supply or the safe and effective initiation of our medicines.

Does technology play a role in limiting face to face meetings?

Absolutely. Our employees are technologically savvy and able to stay connected and work productively from home or other locations. Where possible we are encouraging our people to conduct their meetings virtually by email, phone or WebEx, using the array of technology tools we have available.

Any last thoughts you would like to share?

As a company, we are committed to help those who are impacted by the Coronavirus and try to lower the risk of transmission. We are actively taking steps to help the broader patient and health care provider community; the health and safety of our employees and their families is also a top priority.