As the health care industry is undergoing a rapid transformation driven by evolving economic and regulatory demands, the biopharmaceutical industry also faces numerous challenges in meeting the needs of patients around the globe.
Emerging markets are faced with the challenges of ensuring access to innovative, personalized treatments for patients with critical or rare conditions, including the lack of health care resources, high costs and challenging socioeconomic conditions. On a broader level, these markets are navigating methods to enhance their manufacturing and distribution networks, complex regulatory environments across borders and varying pricing and reimbursement policy structures in order to facilitate broader access to the most advanced medicines.
Together, these compounding barriers produce significant challenges for patient access to life-saving or life-sustaining treatments.
Public-private partnerships foster open innovation in emerging markets
One strategic approach to help address these challenges is to foster partnerships that can enable broader use of new technologies and provide patient-centric therapies that treat a host of diseases in ways that were previously not possible. In order to be successful, government health entities are focusing on sustainable solutions for providing local access to medicines, while capitalizing on the benefits of open innovation.
Public-private partnerships are powerful strategic levers for biopharmaceutical companies and emerging governments alike, as they boost productivity, facilitate joint investment and risk-sharing and provide a solid infrastructure to develop and strengthen manufacturing capabilities. Furthermore, partnerships to provide access to treatment options advance public health by ensuring industry products are registered, distributed and adopted into national treatment policies. This joint commitment fosters the expanded utility of life-saving and prophylactic treatment options for patient communities in need of these advanced treatments.
Case study: Baxter’s partnership with Brazil’s Ministry of Health and Hemobrás
At Baxter, we experienced first-hand the mutual benefit of such a concept by forging a public-private partnership between Baxter and Hemobrás (Empresa Brasileira de Hemoderivados e Biotecnologia), a state-run biotechnology company in Brazil. Our exclusive 20-year partnership with Brazil’s Ministry of Health and Hemobrás is dedicated to improving patient access to recombinant Factor VIII (FVIII) treatment for hemophilia A. The first 10 years of the partnership are focused on the distribution of Baxter’s leading recombinant FVIII hemophilia therapy to treatment centers across Brazil, while supporting efforts by Hemobrás to builds the capacity and expertise to produce the treatment locally. In the second 10 years of the partnership, Hemobrás will begin to manufacture and supply locally with Baxter’s support and ongoing engagement, during which Baxter will receive royalties.
Supported by Brazil’s Minister of Health’s recent declaration of the need for a strong emphasis on self-sufficiency, innovation and technology transfer, this mutually beneficial partnership permits Brazil to expand the availability of hemophilia treatment for patients and establishes autonomy for manufacturing hemophilia A therapies independently, while enabling Baxter to introduce its treatment to more patients.
According to the most recent data, nearly 4,000 hemophilia patients in Brazil have received recombinant FVIII treatment since the partnership was established. That is nearly 40% of the hemophilia patient population in Brazil. This progress represents a major shift in addressing a patient need in a country with limited availability of recombinant treatment options before this agreement. Importantly, the Hemobrás partnership supports awareness, diagnosis and access to treatment for the hemophilia community in Brazil.
While this partnership represents an innovative feat in manufacturing and addressing an urgent patient need in Brazil, it has not come without its challenges. Throughout this process, Baxter continues to work closely with Hemobrás to navigate the intricacies and challenges of the technology transfer process, establishing a sustainable structure and preparing Brazil to develop the therapy autonomously with the proper resources and technologies. Ongoing investments in time and resources to the technology transfer process will ensure Hemobrás is set up for success when they begin to self-manufacture and continue to provide the treatment for hemophilia patients in Brazil.
Advancing public health and increasing access to life-saving therapies
Public-private partnerships represent an important opportunity to deliver on our commitment to patients worldwide. In order to truly put patients at the center of everything we do, we need to ensure the availability of medicines wherever there is a need.
Through partnerships like the Baxter-Hemobrás relationship, industry and governments in emerging markets are equipped to expand access and raise the global standard of care for treatment of challenging diseases as part of efforts to advance public health. This is just one example of leading efforts across the industry to expand access to life-saving treatment options for patients around the world.