It's estimated that one in three people in developing countries can't get essential medicines on a regular basis. Even in countries considered developed, patients who have to pay for medical treatment out of pocket often find it hard to access or afford the healthcare and medicines they need. Geographic hurdles hinder remote populations, substandard healthcare infrastructures limit reliable diagnoses, and precise medical knowledge is restricted to a small number of specialists. These barriers make it difficult to treat those in serious need.
While improvements in care, clinical innovations, and drug deliveries continue to advance, access to these advancements remains an underlying challenge to the health of many people around the world.
As part of the global community, Takeda has refocused its efforts and approach to Access to Medicines (AtM). For many years, the company has provided product, funding, and access based on regional needs. The new AtM strategy builds on that by focusing on geographies and therapy areas with the highest unmet need.
Takeda's AtM strategy is guided by the corporate patient-centric philosophy and a legacy of helping others in need. Of the 38 million people who die from non-communicable diseases each year, three quarters - or 28 million - of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
AtM programs reflect the variety of healthcare needs - from pricing strategies and helping improve living standards to vaccine development and diagnostic capabilities. In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Takeda has initiated a not-for-profit approach to accessibility where a Center of Excellence (CoE) will provide sustainability for diagnosis and treatment of oncology/hematology diseases. This CoE, located in Kenya, will also work with local partners to make select primary care medicines more broadly accessible across the region.
A cornerstone of Takeda's AtM strategy is the Patient Assistance Programs (PAP), which provide financial support to those patients who are unable to pay for the treatments they need. Many of these PAPs will see the implementation of tailored pricing in the Emerging Markets where patients typically pay for their healthcare "out of pocket" due to lack of reimbursement. The goal is that any patient diagnosed and prescribed Takeda oncology or GI medicines will be able to access treatment on a "pay what you can afford" basis. Takeda has already launched a PAP in Thailand and aims to expand in ten more countries across South East Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East by the end of the year.
Another pillar of Takeda's AtM strategy is corporate social responsibility programs through which the company makes contributions to disproportionately affected populations and areas with evolving healthcare systems. As part of the strategy to "go beyond medicines," these programs are designed to prevent diseases and build local capacity in countries with evolving healthcare systems like Brazil, Ukraine, and the Philippines. In Brazil, for example, this activity will include the creation of a network of infusion centers in small cities across the country.