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More to be done to reduce, treat common diseases, says Upjohn

Sep 17. 2019
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By The Nation

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Upjohn Thailand says it is committed to an integrated strategy to improve patient health and relieve the burden of non-communicable diseases with trusted, quality medicines for every patient, everywhere.

 

 

Upjohn will expand its ability to prevent and to treat non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Thailand, the local branch of the pharmaceutical giant said in a Tuesday release.

Upjohn (Thailand) Ltd was established to promote good health for all Thais with targeted coverage of more than 1.5 million patients in 2020 and 2 million patients in 2025, or 33 per cent of Thailand’s patients with non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Pichitchai Jakpaisan, the general manager of Upjohn (Thailand) Ltd, said the company wants to be seen as a leader in dealing with NCDs “by building trust, demonstrating that we have high-quality products, and providing support through our medical expertise”.

About 15 per cent of Thais are now NCD patients, about 10.5 million patients, but 40 Thais die from NCDs every hour. This works out to 1,000 Thais every day, or 350,000 Thais who die yearly from NCDs. 

Though the figures are sobering figures, half of Thais dealing with NCDs can survive through effective prevention and treatment, according to the release.

“We want to help the Thai people stay healthy for as long as they live,” said Pichitchai. “We have 20 brands available in Thailand, including therapies in the areas of cardiovascular disease, pain, urology, psychiatry, and other NCDs. We are focused on our mission to serve NCD products through three channels: government hospitals, private hospitals and retail. Through our strategies, we expect to cover more than 1.5 million patients in 2020 and 2 million patients in 2025, or 33 per cent of Thailand’s NCD patients.”

Dr Sachin Rustagi, the research and development lead  for Thailand and Indochina, for the company, sees NCDs as a slow-moving disaster and the leading cause of death and disability, as they account for 71 per cent, or 41 million, of all global deaths each year. Of the 41 million deaths, nearly 85 per cent are in emerging markets and more than a third are premature.

“In Thailand, NCDs are the cause of death for over 75 per cent of all Thai mortalities. The simple fact is that premature deaths are preventable. Doing nothing will cost about $7 trillion, while the cost of prevention is $170 billion worldwide,” said Rustagi.

The four major NCDs are coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes. The risk factors for the four diseases include an unhealthy diet, tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity and air pollution, he said.

“In this regard, the current standards, criteria, and surveillance approaches are insufficient for handling such concerns while decreasing the effects of NCDs in a comprehensive and efficient manner. It's important that we strengthen the coordination between the public and private sectors, and really focus on the key diseases,” said Rustagi.

“We need to have intersectional partnerships among the government, businesses, professionals and civil societies in order to effectively translate urgent policy priorities into action.”

The pharmaceutical company is focused on relieving the burden of NCDs “with trusted, quality medicines for every patient, everywhere, with a goal of treating 225 million new patients worldwide by 2025, including in Thailand," said Rustagi.

To help patients living with uncontrolled risk factors that put them at risk of NCDs in the future, Upjohn has launched the “Act Today for Tomorrow” programme globally, aiming to create urgency and underline the importance of better treating NCDs with Upjohn’s portfolios, the release noted.

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