The text starts here.

Access to Medicines

Our Approach

Eisai Business in Emerging and Developing Countries for Better Access to Medicines

December 25, 2015

The pharmaceutical industry contributes to increasing benefits for patients through continuous endeavors in the development of healthcare innovations, stable supply of quality products, and the provision of medical information for appropriate use. While it is true that the number of new drug approvals has recently decreased, the importance of innovations in research and development is of paramount importance, as there are still many diseases that have no established treatment or pharmacotherapy. At the same time, the use of generic medicines in emerging and developed markets has expanded in recent years to lessen the economic burden on patients.

In emerging and developing countries, the demand for medicinal products is on the rapid rise because of expansion of the middle-income class caused by increases in population and economic growth. Not all patients who are in need of healthcare have sufficient access to it. Factors for this include, but are not limited to, insufficient healthcare infrastructure and insurance coverage, low recognition of disease and treatment and affordability of care.

While Eisai executes its growth strategy for business activities in each region under its organizational structure comprised of the five regions Eisai Japan, Asia, China, the Americas and EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa, Russia, Oceania), for the Asia region where we believe securing access to medicines is especially critical, Eisai has a management system consisting of the nine local subsidiaries in the region from South Korea to India.
In addition to innovative new drug development and sales, Eisai has established a core strategy in order to contribute to improving access to medicines in newly industrialized and developing countries mainly in the Asia region, which consists of the following four pillars and endeavors to resolve the issues in an integrated manner.

1. Providing Products at an Affordable Price: Flexible pricing suited to each country and disease

In many emerging and developing countries, there are limits on both the number of people enrolled in public healthcare insurance and the variety of medicines reimbursed by insurance, thus the out-of-pocket payment rates for healthcare are higher. Furthermore, the income on a per capita basis compared to developed countries is relatively low, creating a difficult situation in which many people in these countries cannot obtain the medicines they need (See Table below).

Background: Healthcare Insurance in Emerging and Developing Countries
(Per JPMA investigation in 2015)

  Healthcare insurance Self-payment for medication GDP per capita in 2014 (US$)
India While public healthcare insurance is available, it only covers civil servants and some private company employees, representing a small percentage of the national population. Most outpatient prescriptions are out of reimbursement scope
(In principle, self-payment by 100%)
1,570
Philippines 80% of the population is covered by public healthcare insurance that includes only basic medical services. No payment required for medications on the national formulary at public hospitals, however outpatients are exempt 3,470
Indonesia A national health insurance system was introduced in 2014. Currently around 120 million, or half the population, is covered. However, coverage is limited to basic medical services. While there is a basic system of reimbursement, in general the scope of reimbursement is limited to medicines on the essential drug list. 3,630

(cf. GDP per capita in Japan: US$ 42,000)

Eisai continues to realize “Affordable Pricing” that strives to offer our products at a price affordable to the patient. We believe this allows us to provide better access to our medicines and to healthcare in general.

For example, in 2005, we started to supply Aricept for Alzheimer's disease (“Aricep” in India) and the proton pump inhibitor Pariet (“Parit” in India) at affordable prices suitable to the social, economic and healthcare environments of India. Similarly in February 2010, we launched Revovir (clevudine) for chronic hepatitis B in the Philippines at an affordable price, in accordance with the philosophy.

In addition, we are proactively examining affordable pricing for other products in other countries. For the anticancer agent Halaven (eribulin mesylate) launched in India in October 2013, we sought to try something new. Eisai managed to improve access to Halaven by introducing a Tiered Pricing policy which involves establishing multiple price levels, from full payment by the patient to free of charge, so that patients' income levels do not greatly affect their ability to receive the treatment they require. Also in places such as Hong Kong, Thailand and the Philippines, Eisai is expanding schemes to meet the needs of each country. Eisai will continue to pursue sustainable business models tailored to the regulatory systems and economic conditions in each country to enable the delivery of innovative new medicines discovered by Eisai to more patients throughout the world.

Meanwhile, for patients who are still unable to access Eisai's medicines at any price level, Eisai tries to further improve access to medicines through other mechanisms, such as Patient Assistance Programs (PAP), in each country.

Furthermore, toward the elimination of lymphatic filariasis, a neglected tropical disease, Eisai has committed to providing 22 billion tablets of the lymphatic filariasis treatment diethylcarbamazine citrate (DEC) at “price zero” in collaboration with WHO. The manufacture of these DEC tablets is conducted at Eisai's Vizag facility in India, which possesses a cutting-edge production line and has obtained GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certification from a number of developed countries. As of November 2015, 538 million tablets have been distributed to people at risk of infection in 21 countries. Eisai believes that the provision of DEC at price zero is a form of investment that will increase cost efficiency through optimization of global production and supply systems, and lead to more business for Eisai in the future.

Delivering More High-Quality Eisai Products to More Patients Around the World

Current Distribution Status of DEC Tablets for Endemic Countries

2. Providing Disease Solutions including Branded Generic Products

Primarily in disease areas that affect the central nervous system including Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy, Eisai has provided new products developed in-house or licensed from outside parties and accumulated knowledge in these fields. Today, we are enhancing the range of our products trying to create “disease solutions” from the patient perspective. In order to provide comprehensive disease solutions to the patients, we try to offer a wide range of products including innovative medicines, branded generics and compound products containing more than one active ingredient. This presents robust treatment options to the patients and healthcare professionals.

3. Enhancing Access using Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)

Today there are many patients who do have neither access to basic information about disease nor sufficient opportunities for diagnosis and treatment of that disease. To resolve these barriers to access, we proactively develop PPP with institutions from the public and private sectors as well as not-for-profit organizations (NPOs). Working together allows the sharing of complementary knowledge and resources.

4. Leveraging Local Partnerships

To deliver medicines that meet medical needs of patients in a timely manner within the unique business and healthcare environments of each emerging market, Eisai is actively leveraging collaborations with local partners. Eisai strives for improving access to medicines, in partnership with our local partners who have a good appreciation for the business practices and experiences in that country. We share our product-related information with our local partners and also assist local manufacturing capacity building through technology transfers.

Related Links