Eisai Business in Emerging and Developing Countries for Better Access to Medicines
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 the development of new drugs is progressing, the importance of innovation in research and development is paramount, as there are still many diseases that have no established treatment or pharmacotherapy.
In some emerging and developing countries, the demand for medicine is on the rapid rise because of expansion of the middle-income class caused by increases in population and economic growth. But, 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.
Eisai executes its growth strategy for business activities in each region under its organizational structure comprised of the five regions Eisai Japan, the Americas, Asia and Latin America, China and EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa, Russia, Oceania). For the Asia and Latin America region where we believe securing access to medicines is especially critical, Eisai has established a core strategy in addition to the patient contribution through innovative new drug development and sales, in order to contribute to improving access to medicines in emerging and developing countries. Our core strategy 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 Country and Disease
In many emerging and developing countries, healthcare insurance systems are underdeveloped. Even in countries where health insurance systems are developed, 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.
Believing that price-setting of medicines also can contribute to the improvement of access to medicines, Eisai strives to realize the broad and sustainable provision of medicines through “Affordable Pricing” in accordance with the social, economic and healthcare environments in each country.
For example, in 2005, we started to supply Aricept (donepezil hydrochloride, product name in India: Aricep) for Alzheimer's disease at affordable prices suitable to the social, economic and healthcare environments of India. In addition, in 2017 we launched the novel anti-epileptic agent Fycompa (perampanel) in India at an affordable price for patients. In other Asian countries, we are also engaged in price-setting at “prices that patients are willing to pay to receive the benefit of new epilepsy treatments” derived from market surveys.
In addition, we are proactively examining affordable pricing for anticancer agents. For example, tiered pricing system has been introduced for anticancer agents Lenvima and Halaven in India. Under this system, copayment is reduced in stages according to the level and insurance coverage status, and is completely free under certain conditions. Furthermore, Patient Assistance Program (PAP) is introduced for Lenvima in 9 Asian countries, Halaven in 7 countries to support access to medicine for patients who are economically disadvantaged. Eisai will continue to pursue sustainable business models tailored to the healthcare systems and economic conditions in each country to enable the delivery of innovative new medicines discovered by Eisai to more patients throughout the world.
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, and as part of this we also supply branded generics. For example, in India, we try to offer a wide range of products including our innovative medicines, generics for related diseases and compound products containing more than one active ingredient. This presents more robust treatment options to 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 in emerging and developing countries. 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) and engage in the promotion of the disease awareness activities, the development and provision of diagnostic tools.
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 broad knowledge about medical needs, a good appreciation for the business practices and experiences in that country. We not only share our product-related information with our local partners, but also assist local manufacturing capacity building through technology transfers.